Australia is the driest inhabited continent in the world, and yet is one of the highest consumers of water per capita. It has been estimated that by 2030 Melbourne's water supply will not be able to meet the needs of Melbourne's population. As domestic water use accounts for 60% of all water used in Melbourne, changing the way people think about and use this scarce resource has been identified as a key strategy to securing a sustainable water future for Melbourne. The Victorian Government aims to reduce domestic water consumption by 15% (or seven buckets less per person per day) by 2010.
The Smart Water Fund was established by the Victorian Government to support innovative projects addressing this critical water issue. The Water Smart Home project was funded by the Smart Water Fund from 2003-2007. Water Smart Home was a community based project that aimed to engage, educate and inspire Melbournians in how to reduce, reuse and revalue water in their daily lives.
The main features of the project included an interactive exhibit at Melbourne Museum that promotes water conservation in the home and garden; a website that profiles contemporary examples of households who have made significant water savings in and around their own homes; and a vast range of education and outreach programs including a student-led display 'Water Power', Open Homes & Gardens Tours and a performance piece 'Aqua Profunda'.
Water Smart Home was a finalist in the SaveWater! Awards (2005) and the Banksia Environmental Awards (2008). The Victorian Smart Water Fund is a joint initiative between the Victorian Government (Department of Sustainability and Environment) and the four metropolitan water businesses (City West Water, Yarra Valley Water, South East Water and Melbourne Water) to generate and implement ideas on saving or recycling water.
Melbourne Water, July 2007, 'Sustainability Report 2006/2007'
Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment, April 2006, 'Central Region Sustainable Water Strategy Action to 2055'
Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment, June 2007, 'Our Water Our Future: The Next Stage of the Government's Plan'
Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment, June 2004, 'Securing our Water Future Together: White Paper'
Water Resources Strategy Committee for the Melbourne Area, October 2002, '21st century Melbourne: a WaterSmart City (final report)'