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Queensland partnership delivers innovative water education tools

Cutting-edge technology in the realms of artificial intelligence, virtual reality and gamification is being applied to water management education programs in Queensland, the result of an innovative partnership between Seqwater and the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

The aim was to develop innovative educational resources utilising QUT’s expertise in programming, graphic design, 3D-modelling and animation, combined with Seqwater’s specialist knowledge on water management.

Educational resources being developed include interactive 3D maps, cooperative games and advanced interactive devices, such as the customised Augmented Reality Sandpit, which allows users to recreate water catchments and weather patterns with sand.

Established in 2015, the Seqwater-QUT team is now set to design software and hardware solutions, which can be delivered online, in virtual reality, as games — at home and in the classroom.

QUT’s Visualisation and eResearch Group Manager Gavin Winter said the uses of technology in education and engagement, in particular for bulk water supply, waste water, and flooding, has advanced a lot since the partnership began.

“We are now able to provide students and communities with immersive, interactive, and real-time experiences, which help them to understand where their water comes from, how it is managed and how individual behaviours impact our future supply,” Winter said.

Seqwater CEO Neil Brennan said the partnership will continue to advance and improve educational outcomes for South East Queensland, as water literacy among the region’s communities is one of the utility’s top priorities.

“With new technologies being adopted in the education domain, the future of community education and engagement is fast becoming more digital,” Brennan said.

“This partnership between QUT and Seqwater began in 2015, when we worked with the university to develop an augmented reality sandpit that uses kinetic sensors to simulate hills, valleys, lakes and rainfall to show how the region’s water supply is managed.

“I’m pleased we are continuing to work with QUT to produce exciting outcomes in water education.”