The Wonders of Water WOWs Sydney with mobile AR van


Driving awareness for a water-secure future.

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We’ve had the privilege of collaborating with Sydney Water, Australia’s largest water utility, for a number of years now. As a world leader in water services, it’s no surprise that their innovative spirit filters down into their communications strategy, and our latest project once more drives home their reputation as trailblazers in their field.

To many people, clean drinkable water is just a given. They simply turn on the tap and assume water will keep coming out, taking for granted the real journey it takes to get there - the urban water cycle. The truth is, water is a precious resource. Sydney Water needed to make Sydneysiders aware of not only the city’s water resource challenges, but also help them embrace rainfall independent water sources. 

To do this, we created the Wonders of Water Discovery Tour – an educational van that uses AR and gamification to bring to life the urban water cycle, showing the full journey water goes through before flowing through our taps. We built on the back of an existing water maintenance vehicle, transforming it into a fun, interactive and educational experience where Jila the platypus (the cutest brand ambassador you ever did meet) helps all to learn about Sydney’s water future. 

The decked-out van comprises three interactive experiences. The first is an AR wall using the van’s side panels, asking people how well they know the urban water cycle and then taking them on a step-by-step journey through it. When participants scan the QR code they’re guided through the urban water cycle by Jila. The journey comes to life virtually as they hover over each part of the cycle through a series of animations. This helps to build people’s understanding of the path water must travel to reach our faucets, while also gathering data to ascertain the level of water literacy across Sydney. 

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The next station, the Global Guesser, asks people to guess how other cities around the world get their water and familiarises them with water sourcing around the globe. The final station taps into gamification, taking players through the pipes of Sydney in a retro arcade game. This educates people on how Sydney Water can help support the natural water cycle by using filtration technology to treat any water, no matter the source. 

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The van requires minimal set-up, all it needs is a good wi-fi connection and Bob’s your uncle. Keeping it Covid-conscious, we also had to provide a solution that relied on the van’s exterior. So, even if it’s all closed up, people can still enjoy the experience from the parking lot. 

All in all, its been a truly worthwhile experience and incredibly rewarding to see the idea come to life. The WOW van is officially headed on tour in and around Sydney. If you spot it, be sure to explore, discover and encourage family and friends to do so too.

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