Creative campaign tackles water wastage

Article image - Creative campaign tackles water wastage

A creative promotional campaign and accompanying app developed by Cairns Regional Council is curbing water usage in the region.

Tropical plants and flowers are breaking into song to educate Cairns residents about outdoor water use.

The ‘Thrive’ advertising campaign was rolled out last month as part of Cairns Regional Council’s strategy to reduce water demand.

The television commercials feature ‘Ginger’ and her back-up singers belting out a rendition of the Gloria Gaynor hit ‘I Will Survive’, spreading the message that plants can thrive “in the wet and in the dry” without excessive watering.

The commercials have been accompanied by print ads, bus displays, billboards and social media content.

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said ‘Thrive’ followed on from the successful ‘Green Sponge’ campaign and would be backed up by an informative website and mobile app.

“The previous campaign has been running for a decade and a lot has changed in that time,” said the Mayor. “The Thrive campaign specifically targets water use in the garden, as that is where a lot of water wastage occurs.

“People often underestimate just how resilient native plants, in particular, are to the changing seasons. In most cases, they need less watering than you would think.

“The mobile app will help people work out how much water their garden really needs and to choose plants that are less reliant on watering.”

The campaign stems from the recommendations of the Cairns Water Security Advisory Group, which was formed in 2014 to investigate options for increased water supply and better water management.
The group provided a series of recommendations based on short, medium and long-term actions, including the implementation of a Water Demand Strategy.

“On average, Cairns’ daily water consumption is nearly 420 litres per person,” Cr Manning said.

“We are aiming to reduce that by 10 percent over 10 years.
“In order to achieve this, we are working with commercial premises to reduce their water consumption and we’re auditing our own infrastructure to identify leaks and wastage, as well as taking the ‘Thrive’ message to households.”

A leak detection program earlier this year assessed more than 700kms of water mains and located 95 leaks in Council infrastructure and a further 67 leaks on private property.

“Council was able to act immediately to make repairs and we estimate that this will save about 90 megalitres of water over the course of a year.”

The rollout of a smart meter pilot program next year will further assist in identifying leaks and will allow residents to better monitor their water use.

“There are little things that all of us can do every day to reduce water wastage; if we can accurately track our water usage, we’re likely to be more thoughtful about how much we use.”

To find out more about the campaign or the mobile app visit thrive.cairns.qld.gov.au.