High-tech Townsville data hub to lower water and energy use
Professor Ian Atkinson (rt) with QUT’s Robin Drogelmyer.
Crucial data about where, when and how much water and energy North Queenslanders use will be made available to researchers in a landmark project launched by James Cook University and partner organisations this week.
The Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN): Townsville Energy and Water Demonstration Project was launched at JCU’s Townsville City Campus on Friday April 17.
AURIN is a federally-funded National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) project that provides access to significant data relevant to Australia’s urban centres, which aims to help reduce consumption of water and electricity.
Professor Ian Atkinson, Director of JCU’s eResearch Centre, said the project would allow researchers to examine trends in both electricity and water consumption in Townsville.
This will be analysed, along with wider information such as socio-economic status, land-use and other data available within the AURIN portal.
Professor Atkinson said the Townsville project was one of the few AURIN activities focused on regional centres and the tropics.
“We need to understand the patterns of energy and water use in Australia’s largest tropical city to help long-term planning to increase sustainability and reduce cost,” Professor Atkinson said.
Professor Atkinson said the project aimed to show the connection between energy and water consumption in the Townsville tropical built environment, such as the city’s infrastructure – roads, buildings and parks.
“It will do this by giving access to information about water and electricity data, allowing analysis of current usage against other factors such as housing type and income.
“It will also develop usage models that can be used to evaluate interventions and help utilities plan water and electricity infrastructure in future developments; and enhance planning capability specifically for the tropical environment utilising data specific to Townsville.”
The project will provide data, via the AURIN Portal, that can provide a model for delivery of these types of data (energy and water) in other tropical cities across Australia. The research will help Townsville City Council and Ergon Energy to identify planning strategies and communication tools that will reduce consumption into the future.
“These partners also believe that by their example, acting as leaders in the community, they will stimulate other organisations to provide additional data that will enrich the understanding of the Townsville urban environment.”
Professor Atkinson said the two primary objectives of the project were to provide anonymous (information that will not be identified to any particular household) electricity and water usage data for researchers to help provide an insight into the energy/water usage in a tropical environment.
“The benefits will flow back to Townsville City Council and Ergon Energy to identify planning strategies and methods that will reduce consumption.”
For more information, visit www.aurin.org.au
For the map table which facilitates these discussions while interacting with the data in real time: