Sydney Water has embarked on the Wonders of Water (WOW) Discovery Tour to drive awareness among Sydney communities around the urban water cycle and showcase how the organisation is planning ahead for a water-resilient future. The star of the (road)show is a repurposed water maintenance van that has been transformed into an interactive and educational experience using augmented reality (AR) and gamification technology.
Conceptualised and developed by marketing partner, Because Creative Experiences, the van draws on immersive technology to help all learn about Sydney’s water future in an engaging and interactive way. The van has three key experiences to drive home just how precious water really is, all guided by a mascot, Jila the platypus (who knows a thing or two about water).
The first part of the experience features an AR wall on the van’s side panels, asking people how well they know Sydney’s urban water cycle and then taking them on a step-by-step journey through it. Participants can scan the QR code provided and then watch as the urban water cycle comes to life virtually through a series of animations. This helps to build an understanding of where people get their water, while also gathering data to determine the level of water literacy across Sydney.
The second station, the Global Guesser, asks participants to guess how different cities around the world get their water and helps educate them on water sourcing around the globe. The third station taps into gamification with a retro arcade game, where Jila takes players through the pipes of Sydney and, in the process, shows the role filters play in treating Sydney’s water.
“Greater Sydney is facing a water-supply challenge – our climate is changing, our city is growing, we need to consider and plan for a mix of water supply options.” explains Benjamin Newton, manager of community education and corporate social eesponsibility of Sydney Water. “This project will help us take Sydney communities on the journey of the urban water cycle, while also educating people on the steps we’re taking to ensure a water-secure future.”
“We are incredibly proud to see this idea come to life and to help Sydney Water once again push the boundaries of how to educate in innovative ways,” says Stephanie Babin, business director of Because Creative Experiences. “We hope this proves a great asset in helping their important message travel far and wide.”
To add to the creative challenge, Because had to use an existing water maintenance vehicle to create the van. “It needs to be returned to its original state when the project wraps up, so we couldn’t make any permanent alterations that would damage the van and also had to ensure it was covid-conscious,” says Stephanie Babin. “The creative solution led to an experience outside the vehicle, meaning anyone can go up to the van and interact with it, even from the parking lot.”
The Wonders of Water van is officially on tour and will be visiting schools and community events across Greater Sydney from now until mid-2023. If you see it, be sure to get involved and discover the many wonders of water for yourself.
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