Quick Facts

  • We treat grey water using a vertical flow wetland.
  • It was designed and built by Team UOW students.
  • Through the circulation of water, this system achieves the same level of treatment using only 10% of the surface area.
Team UOW Grey Water treatment system illustration
Team UOW Grey Water treatment system illustrated
Team UOW Grey Water treatment system
Reece- Team UOW

In many parts of the world, including Australia and the Middle East water scarcity is a prevalent issue. By sufficiently treating and reusing greywater at a domestic level we can save up to 60% of potable water consumption. The treated water can be used in irrigation, toilet flushing, washing machine. The vertical flow wetland is constructed from recycled hardwood timber, a recycled bulky container and various soil aggregates and plants.

This system has been created by Team UOW and works by recirculate the greywater multiple times through the wetland which allows for the area requirement to be significantly reduced. This is one of the key innovations of this system as it reduces the surface area by up to 90% making it a more practical system to be used in homes, so practical in size that it could fit in an apartment. The circulation of water through the wetland occurs at night.

The use of a recycled vertical flow constructed wetland will increase the sustainability of the Desert Rose as the demand for precious potable water will be minimised, thus reducing the various adverse environmental, economic and social flow on effects of water overconsumption.

On its return to Australia, The Desert Rose will be connected to the Sustainable Building Research Centre’s (SBRC) black water treatment system. Since The Desert Rose will treat grey and black water as well as collect its own rain water, the house is a fully sustainable water model.


Team UOW has engineered a number of sustainable plumbing solutions into the Desert Rose. The plumbing system uses non-conventional plumbing materials to increase the sustainability of the Desert Rose. Traditionally, poly vinyl chloride (PVC) was used extensively in drainage solutions, however the Desert Rose uses Raupiano drainage which contains no toxic materials and is 100% recyclable. In addition to this no blue glue or primer is used in the assembly of these which removes further harmful chemicals from the process. All our plumbing equipment has been provided by Reece Plumbing which has enabled us to implement the most innovative and sustainable products on the market.

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