About this Project


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.

Project Credits

This program was created through efforts and funding by The University of Melbourne, Involved Pty Ltd, Design4Use Pty Ltd and the Smart Water Fund.

University of Melbourne – Burnley, School of Resource Management & Geography
The School of Land and Environment, University of Melbourne is Australia’s largest, providing education and research activities in support of sustainable primary industry including food science, production systems for dairy, grains, horticulture, forest and pasture ecosystems, water resource management and agribusiness. The Burnley Campus is renowned for its environmental and ornamental horticultural educational and research programs.
Personnel involved in creating this project from within this school are:
Mr Geoff Connellan initiated the Household Garden Watering Assessment project in 2005 and has managed the project over the following three years. His expertise is in urban water management including landscape water demand, irrigation performance, water conservation, scheduling and irrigation technology.
Dr Peter May is a horticultural consultant providing specialist advice in a range of areas including urban and landscape soils, landscape plant establishment, selection, management and maintenance.
Ms Liz Denman is a horticulturist and was the horticultural Project Officer.

University of Melbourne – Interactive Design Group, Department of Information Systems
The Interactive Design Group is a thriving interdisciplinary group situated within the Department of Information Systems. Its focus is on understanding and improving interactive technology for people. The group spans a diverse range of research, exploring both desktop and mobile technologies. Personnel involved in creating this project from within this department are Dr Jon Pearce who led the team creating the SmartGardeningWatering web application. He has expertise in interaction design, online engagement and education. Jon is particularly interested in exploring highly engaging and motivating online experiences. Dr Wally Smith provided interface and interaction design advice during the design of this web application. Wally is interested in the social and cognitive aspects of technology design and use.

Involved Pty Ltd
Involved are an award winning, user-centric digital design agency whose clients include ABC Television, Accor Hotels, Kath & Kim, ANCAP, Australian Automobile Association and World Vision. Involved's team are passionate about conceptualisation, information architecture, interface design and software development, supported by experienced production methodologies. SmartGardenWatering was built in Ruby on Rails and hosted by the fine folks at Heroku. Paul Prickett, Nicholas Bruning and Jordan Lewis were responsible for the visual design and software development for this project. Recent work can be viewed online at involved.com.au.

Design4Use Pty Ltd
Mr John Murphy is Principle of Design4Use and a specialist in user-centred design software development projects. He was the software Project Manager, user interface designer and, in particular responsible for the academic – industry liaison during this project.

Smart Water
The Smart Water Fund is an initiative of the Victorian Government in partnership with its public water authorities. The Smart Water Fund encourages innovation in water recycling, water conservation and bio-solid management to help secure Victoria’s water supplies now and in the future. For further information, visit: smartwater.com.au.

Burnley Plant Directory
The project is grateful for the use of the Burnley Plant Directory, the leading source of plant data for Melbourne.

Terms of Use

The content on this website has been created by The University of Melbourne (University) with funding support from the Smart Water Fund.

While the University attempts to ensure accuracy and reliability of the information contained on the site at the time of publishing, the information and calculations should only be used as a guide. Users should note that the University may update the material on the site at any time, including but not limited to all calculations and information concerning plants, climate, geography and soil. The website is provided on an ‘as is’ basis and the university does not warrant that the website will be error free or fit for any particular purpose and the University shall not be liable to any user for and actions, claims, damages, liabilities, costs or expenses in any way arising out of the use of the website. To the maximum extent permitted by law, the University excludes all warranties in respect of the merchantability and fitness for purpose in relation to the use of the website. Web links from this site to external websites should not be construed as implying any relationship with and/or endorsement of the external site or its content by the University, nor any commercial or other relationship with the owners of such site.


© The University of Melbourne 2010. All rights reserved.

This site includes materials that are proprietary to third parties. Users may download and/or make copies of the material contained in the site for their own personal review and study and non-commercial use. No other unauthorised copying or use is permitted and content must not be systematically downloaded and/or stored in any form whatsoever, and under no circumstances should any content be reproduced or communicated online.