Bringing Water Data Futures to Life

Visualisations for Sydney Water and the Institute for Sustainable Futures that reveal relationships between future technologies, systems and people

Smart technologies offer the promise of more sustainable and convenient water use, especially when they are networked across a community. But who will have access to these new technologies? How will these systems connect and relate to each other? And who will control the rich web of personal data that they generate?

The UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures and Sydney Water are working to ensure policy makers, engineers and urban water planners understand these opportunities and challenges. As part of this, they want to widen decision-makers’ focus from infrastructure and technologies to people and communities.

Revealing the personal in the technical

Parallel Lines worked with the team from UTS to consolidate their complex and multifaceted research into concise, coherent visual forms. With input from technical experts from Sydney Water, we designed a graphic system that reveals the relationship between future technologies, systems and people.

We designed visualisations that focus on everyday people in a selection of future scenarios. This approach provides a window into different people’s lives, revealing their diverse water practices and the unique challenges they face. Combining illustrations with flow diagrams reveals the hidden networks of water data that permeate the homes of the future.

The visualisations have encouraged meaningful conversations about how we can embrace and support the future of smart water efficient devices. They have proven to be useful tools for planning and workshops and an inspiration for design sprints.

Anna Flack

Sydney Water