The intense focus of Urbaqua staff mid-WSUD Lego challenge

What do you do for fun in an office full of hydrologists, environmental planners, engineers and a (now) Lego Master?

Stage a Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) Lego challenge of course, judged by yours truly: Alex Towler, environmental engineer and Lego Master Australia, Season 2.

Season 2 Lego Masters Australia: Alex Towler & Jackson Harvey (Source: Media Week)

In addition to being a somewhat delayed End of Financial Year get-together, it was also an opportunity for the rest of the office to show off their mad skillz to Alex.


Half an hour to build the best Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) system/infrastructure/monster/story possible.


50% creativity/story-telling + 50% meeting the WSUD theme

And so, full of snacks, drinks and trash talk, 6 surprisingly competitive and intensely focused Urbaqua scientists and engineers set off on their free builds! Panic set in earlier for some then others, with staff taking inspiration from a variety of sources: locally known systems, fantasy worlds infused with WSUD symbolism, or from Alex himself (and obviously trying to suck up to the judge).

And these are the results……..

BUILD ONE: Urban heat dementors being defeated by the New WAter Ways patronus

BUILD TWO: Steam punk pollution: a commentary on the contamination of our waterways

BUILD THREE: A WSUD liveable community (complete with reference to legacy contamination by piggery, water quality treatment systems: swale & biofiltration basin, and multi-functional POS)

BUILD FOUR: WSUD Smart park: monitoring water quality with the latest technology

BUILD FIVE: Wetland construction & artistic inspiration

BUILD SIX: WSUD maintenance in action!

On the basis of these most excellent WSUD-themed builds, Alex had a very tough decision to make (to quote: “I am genuinely surprised at how good your builds are!“). We chose to take that as a compliment.

But there could only be one winner.

And based on the creative story telling, use of colour, impressive detail (including bubble-up pit, tree pit, POS, and local government maintenance crew) the winner was……………………BUILD SIX! (and this was allegedly not just because said builder was boss of said judge).

Alex’s WSUD Lego challenge trophy

Whether you agree or not, perhaps this is the start of an industry wide competition! At least, it gave one non-for-profit a chance to get their creative juices flowing and feel the tiniest bit of what it might be like to be under pressure in a reality show competition.

Harder than you would think!