Victoria’s Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is charged with overseeing the water resource in conjunction with the government and water authorities, whilst also enabling liveable, inclusive and sustainable communities that support jobs and growth. It has established a robust entitlement framework that allows people the ability to buy and sell water rights.
The Victorian government controls the use and flow of the state’s water which is an absolutely vital resource for many aspects of life and commerce across the state. This resource is also under considerable pressure and has reached sustainable limits due to elements such as climate change and urban growth.
The Victorian Water Register (the Register) contains a vast treasure trove of data pertaining to water. Much of this data can be accessed via the Register’s website (www.waterregister.vic.gov.au), which Datacom develop and support. The water data contained on the website is frequently updated as the market changes; 150 times a day on average. The Register wanted to be able to notify water data consumers of updates (risk of spill, market prices, seasonal determinations and trade limits) in real-time.
The Register engaged Datacom’s Digital Foundry team to develop a mobile application and public API which could leverage the Register’s existing investment in backend technologies and couple these with cutting edge, highly reliable and scalable serverless technologies.
In order to create the notifications themselves, Datacom built an open source API (available on GitHub) which polls existing backend services and creates notifications on deltas or receives events in real-time from the backend system and converts those into notifications (in the form of Webhooks).
The mobile application’s backend receives the notifications from the API and based on a user’s saved preferences sends push notifications via the Apple/Google push notification services. The mobile application also shows a summary of the current state of the water market, and if users wish to dive deeper, they can visit the Register’s website to learn more.
With mobile notifications, users can receive actionable insights into the water market, wherever they are, on their mobile phone or smart watch.
Datacom’s Digital Foundry team had only 10 weeks to build the solution (mobile application and API) and deliver it into production, including the architecture leverages native cloud services, such as AWS SNS for Webhooks and AWS API Gateway for the API itself, in order to facilitate secure and rapid development.
The mobile application and API were built following the Agile methodology. As such, users were able to provide feedback at the end of each sprint to test and shape the products during their development.
The Register requested that the notifications API be published as open source to allow third parties, including water brokers, to build their own integrations against it. As a number of these third parties were included in the Agile stakeholder groups, they were able to build their own integrations against the API during development, in preparation for simultaneous go-live release.
The notifications mobile application opens up an entirely new channel and type of communication (i.e. push rather than pull) with users of the Register. Moreover, the open source API provides access to third parties with access to real-time notifications as well as historic data to build integrations, from Slack bots to automated trading.
The mobile application and API provide a secure, scalable and flexible platform to the Register, who can develop and grow its functionality over time based on the needs and wants of their consumers.
“The mobile app looks great! It’s been well received by our customers, and we’re very pleased with the outcome. As part of the Victorian Government’s commitments to open source and open API initiatives, we worked closely with Datacom to ensure the data used by the mobile app was also available to all Australians, and in real-time. The mobile app and API are the product of a fantastic partnership between the teams at DELWP and Datacom, and we’re very excited for the future for the mobile and API platform.”
Naomi Douglas, Manager, Water Knowledge and Insights, DELWP