In DreamVille, the Tomorrowland festival village, smart sensors register water consumption. Researchers of the WaterVille project also test which aspects affect that consumption.

Case Waterville

The amount of water we consume differs from person to person. To gain a greater insight into our behaviour, VITO has started the WaterVille research project. In DreamVille, the Tomorrowland festival village, smart sensors register water consumption. Researchers are also testing ways of reducing that consumption.  

You can view DreamVille as a temporary village that is built up every year in the weeks before Tomorrowland. During the two festival weekends, there are 38,000 people each time, who all take showers, use the toilet, wash their clothes in the laundrette sometimes, etc. But water consumption differs greatly from visitor to visitor.

Smart data

“In a regular residential district we cannot analyse people's water consumption. Water meter readings are only taken once a year. DreamVille is the ideal location to collect more data,” explains Wim Schiettecatte from VITO. “We use the wristbands worn by visitors to link the number of people in a shower zone to the quantity of water used. The consumption patterns are mapped out using smart water meters. This gives us a greater insight into the behaviour of a large group of people. We use the new data, among other things, to assess if it would be possible to make the supply match the demand more closely.”

Affecting behaviour

In a second sub-study, WaterVille is investigating which aspects affect the behaviour of Tomorrowland visitors. “The main question is: how do you make water saving an obvious choice?” says sociologist Yves De Weerdt. “Behaviour depends on many factors: age, gender, individual needs, what friends do, the weather, the atmosphere, etc. Combining technology with behavioural knowledge allows you to communicate in a more targeted manner. Do you talk very dryly about water consumption or do you turn it into a game? Do you put up a display in the shower, allowing people to compare their water consumption to that of others? Later on we want to use the insights gained within broader research into smart cities.”


WaterVille is part of ‘Oproep 2016’ of the i-Cleantech Vlaanderen MIP programme and runs from June 2016 to August 2018. Other partners apart from VITO are, the sustainability platform Love Tomorrow, meter and sensor manufacturer Hydroko, data expert Forwrd, drinking water company Pidpa, water infrastructure company MTD and sanitary units rental company Van Overbeek. 

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