This project was initiated by Geoff Connellan (School of Land and Environment, University of Melbourne) who obtained funding from the Smart Water Fund in 2005. The garden water estimation tool was developed with the assistance of numerous horticultural and water management colleagues and specialists including Dr Peter May and Ms Liz Denman. Information used in the model was sourced from mulch and irrigation trials conducted at Burnley Campus and other scientific sources including plant, soil, climate and water references. Originally the project was designed to cater for just the Melbourne and Geelong climate areas.
The computer interface development work was carried out at the Department of (now Computing and) Information Systems, University of Melbourne, Parkville. From early 2008, Drs Jon Pearce and Wally Smith (Interactive Design Lab, University of Melbourne) and John Murphy (Design4Use) set about the process of interpreting the mathematical watering model into a user-friendly web application. This included a user-centred design process followed by coding and graphical design work from Paul Prickett, Nicholas Bruning and Jordan Lewis at Involved Pty Ltd.
At the beginning of December 2011, we launched an iPhone app as a companion to the SGW web site. This app sends reminders to gardeners as to what their particular watering days are as well as showing the rainfall in their local area for the past 7 days.
In late 2012 Jon Pearce was successful in obtaining a Vice-Chancellor Engagement Grant from the University and, together with Michael Smit (savewater!) and Geoff Connellan, set about gathering data to expand SGW to cover the whole of Victoria. This work involved dividing the state into 18 climate zones and sourcing data relating to rainfall, evaporation and soil types. The new site was launched at the end of February, 2013 and is currently hosted on the savewater! web site.