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Perth has seen a major decline in annual rainfall in recent decades. Meanwhile heatwave conditions are predicted to increase and mains water demand over the next 40 years is projected to double.

With a growing population, coupled with long-term decline in rainfall, there has been concerted efforts to diversify Perth’s water sources and use water more responsibly. Despite this, Perth residents are amongst the highest water users in the country.

WGV by LandCorp is a 2 hectare residential development site near Fremantle targeting a 60-70% reduction in mains water use by incorporating improved efficiency standards, rainwater harvesting and a precinct-scale community bore scheme for garden irrigation. There is also a focus on localised stormwater infiltration and careful management of groundwater to ensure it is sustainably managed.

As a medium density development site, careful consideration has been given to greenspace for shade and biodiversity, including tree retention, shared use of streetscapes and the redevelopment of an underutilised storm water sump into a creative pocket park.

Water use is being monitored to assess the effectiveness of the various strategies. Residents have access to this data in real-time to help inform their water use behavior. Researchers will be able to analyse the data and share the learnings with industry and government via a multi-partner knowledge sharing program referred to the as the WGV Waterwise Development Exemplar.

Dr Josh Byrne is an environmental scientist and research fellow with Curtin University and the CRC for Low Carbon Living. In Density by Design, Josh is on a journey of learning, seeking out the leading minds and ground-breaking ideas on sustainable higher density residential projects around Australia that are inspiring change through demonstration.

Density by Design is a factual web series produced by Fremantle based production company VAM Media as part of a broader research project on low-carbon residential precincts being undertaken by the Curtin University for the CRC for Low Carbon Living. Project partners include LandCorp, the City of Fremantle and Josh Byrne & Associates.

For more information watch the Density by Design video series or go to the WGV Waterwise Development Exemplar page.