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“For the first time, artificial intelligence controls when and how much water is distributed across an entire park to cool its microclimate,” says Dr. Professor Pfautsch of Western Sydney University.
WSU researchers are leading an expert team that is transforming a 40 hectares Bicentennial Park at Sydney Olympic Park into the coolest public park in the state. Dubbed SIMPaCT (Smart Irrigation Management for Parks and Cool Towns), the project is a collaboration between the government, universities, and private industry, and utilizes artificial intelligence and technology to cool the park’s microclimate for residents and visitors. The use of cutting-edge science is needed in order to monitor water use and temperatures, allowing Sydney Olympic Park Authority to optimize its water management and irrigation system.
Spreading over 40 hectares, Sydney Olympic Park and its Bicentennial Park has one of the largest irrigation systems in Australia.
- High costs of irrigation
- Heat waves over 40°C are becoming more common
- Insights available for residents and visitors of the park
As a part of this innovative project, a network of more than 200 Senstick Agri (SSM30) soil sensors and 50 Senstick Urban (SMC30) microclimate sensors were used to record soil moisture and air temperature. Together with weather forecasts, the microclimate data captured was used to fine-tune the park’s active cooling management. This can make a substantial contribution to reducing urban heat and ensuring residents about the safety in accessing the outdoors. Using only recycled water for cooling purposes this project also represents a large-scale prototype of how smart water management can lower irrigation costs and ease the pressure on water resources. Park visitors can also check on their mobile phones where the coolest spot for a picnic is or where they should exercise.
- 15% decrease in irrigation costs
- Offering real-time microclimate information, the park can now mitigate urban heat islands
- Possibility to expand safe zones by easy integration of more sensors.
50 Senstick Urban (SMC30) were planted on poles or trees, 3 meters off the ground (UP), and 200 Senstick Agri (SSM30) were dug into the ground.
All sensor data can then be read and managed on the appropriate platform. The data is also publicly available on the SIMPaCT Australia website.
The park features a range of various subtropical vegetation.
The goal of SIMPaCT is to merge environmental monitoring and AI across a large public park to provide the coolest possible microclimates for residents and visitors during increasingly hot summers. It brings innovation, cutting-edge science, technology, and ultimately greater climate resilience to Sydney. When SIMPaCT is fully operational it will manage the irrigation schedule based on soil moisture levels, vegetation/landscape, and weather forecasting.
The project is supported by a $2.5 million grant from the NSW Government’s Digital Restart Fund. Sydney Water will also contribute substantial funding to the overall project. Project creator and research lead Associate Professor Sebastian Pfautsch from Western Sydney University’s School of Social Sciences said the project will change how we use recreational spaces in the future.
Soil moisture sensors were dug 15cm into the ground, while microclimate sensors were placed on trees or poles.
When SIMPaCT is fully operational it will manage the irrigation schedule based on soil moisture levels, vegetation/landscape, and weather forecasting.
The project uses cutting-edge science to monitor water use and temperatures, allowing Sydney Olympic Park Authority to optimize its water management and irrigation system.
As part of the innovative project, a network of more than Senzemo 250 environmental sensors are soil moisture and air temperature, and together with weather forecasts, the data captured will be used to fine-tune the park’s active cooling management.
This project uses only recycled water and represents a large-scale prototype of how smart water management can ease the pressure on our most valuable natural resource. Park visitors will also be able to check on their mobile phones where the coolest spot for a picnic is or where they should exercise.
Data provides deeper insights into water and thermal comfort management.