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A tool to support outdoor use efficiency in landscapes

Nayak, Ashwin (2016) A tool to support outdoor use efficiency in landscapes. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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Perth’s transition towards becoming a more water sensitive city will be marked by a challenge to improve current standards of liveability. Liveability is a term intrinsically linked to green spaces (gardens and park), which are strongly linked to physical and mental benefits. WGV by LandCorp (WGV) is a housing development in Western Australia that aims to enhance this form of liveability through creative urban greening and a leading practice water management approach. WGV will host a research program monitoring various water related housing performance indicators upon construction. The pre-construction modelling exercises, which are required to ensure adherence to the original water related design criteria, forms the basis of this study.

The primary objectives were to establish a conceptual model to aid residents to more efficient outdoor water use and, subsequently, develop a tool to support decision-making based on the outputs of the model. A more efficiently watered garden would still provide quality green space but with less water. The model’s aim was to simulate a garden’s response to various irrigation regimes to help the user select the most suitable irrigation regime for the garden. The users of the Decision Support Tool (DST) would be the research operators employed for the research program at WGV The aim behind the development of the DST was to save time for researchers employed under future research stages.

The appearance of a plant was chosen over other plant physiological factors to be the main factor in the model, as it would be easier for residents to understand the results. A Plant Appearance Range was developed: Presentable, Acceptable, and Stressed (Death Risk). The challenge with the appearance of a plant being a qualitative descriptor was overcome by sourcing an appropriate and quantitative methodology from leading practice landscape water budgeting techniques. It involved modelling the Irrigation Demand Met (%) of a plant to visualize its appearance. The model was subsequently developed into an interactive DST that allowed users to compare and contrast results across different plant species, locations, and time periods.

The functionality of the DST was demonstrated against two hypothetical scenarios. The results indicate the DST supported users to make decisions to yield water savings. A user could make the shift towards a less frequent irrigation regime because the DST indicated so. A user could also develop more localized water restrictions to allow WGV to preserve quality green space during times of drought. The development of the DST now allows members of future research stage to make use of the Plant Appearance Model in a time efficient manner.

A secondary objective was to advance the Concept Design Modelling (CDM) on aquifer recharge and groundwater use to the Detailed Design Modelling (DDM) stage. The results indicated the DDM on aquifer recharge and groundwater use was 1500kL/annum higher and comparable respectively to the CDM stage results.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Information Technology
Supervisor(s): Anda, Martin, Byrne, J., Dallas, Stewart and Ho, Goen
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