Top 5 AFL Grand Finals ranked by Melbourne Water flush factor

Melbourne Water sheds light on the relationship between the AFL Grand Final and water consumption.

Melbourne Water sheds light on the relationship between the AFL Grand Final and water consumption.

The 2023 AFL Grand Final, one of the most highly anticipated sporting events in Australia, has always been a significant occasion for Melburnians. Beyond the excitement on the field, Melbourne Water has discovered a fascinating connection between this sporting event and the city’s water usage patterns, known as the ‘flush factor’. This unique metric measures the percentage increase in water usage resulting from mass toilet flushing throughout the event.

Melbourne Water’s Water Operations Centre Lead, Dave White, has crunched the numbers. Over the past decade, Melbourne Water has been uncovering significant changes in water usage during the AFL Grand Final weekend.

The ‘flush factor’ measurement also serves as an indicator of the excitement and engagement of the crowd during the game.

“It appears on the day of the AFL Grand Final, Melbourne witnesses a noticeable shift in water consumption patterns. As the city’s residents and visitors gather to watch the game, water usage experiences a significant drop during the match,” White said.

This decline can be attributed to the fact that people are generally preoccupied with the game, resulting in reduced water-related activities such as showering, washing dishes, and using appliances that require water. Spikes in water usage occur at the end of each quarter of the game and after the final siren from simultaneous use of toilets, creating unusual data patterns that have caught the attention of water management experts.

One intriguing finding is that the level of excitement and tension during the match has a direct correlation with the ‘flush factor.’ The data collected by Melbourne Water indicates a clear behavioural pattern among AFL fans. That is, the closer the score at the end of the game, the higher the flush factor.

Top 5 AFL Grand Finals by Flush Factor (percentage increase in water usage):

  1. Western Bulldogs vs. Sydney Swans in 2016 – Flush Factor: 101.0%
  2. Collingwood vs. St Kilda in 2010 – Flush Factor: 50.8%
  3. Sydney Swans vs. Hawthorn in 2012 – Flush Factor: 38.8%
  4. West Coast Eagles vs. Collingwood in 2018 – Flush Factor: 36.0%
  5. Geelong vs. St Kilda in 2009 – Flush Factor: 35.0%

“Melbourne Water’s ‘Flush Factor’ has shed light on the remarkable relationship between the AFL Grand Finals and water consumption,” added White.

Melbourne Water’s discovery of the ‘flush factor’ adds a new dimension to the AFL Grand Final. While all eyes will be on Collingwood and Brisbane Lions as they battle it out on the field, it is also crucial to recognise the impact of collective behaviour on water usage.

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