What is the preferred way of creating large number of small water volumes?

Hello, we are looking for a replacement of the waterfall shader from cry3. We were using the shader for many relatively small objects like tubs and wells. The advantage of this shader was that you could assign it to any geometry. For example the tub was made by one cgf with two sub-models/sub-materials - the object containing the water and the water surface itself. As I know you cannot assign the water volume shader to general meshes, the only type of object it supports is the area/water volume. But water volumes are expensive (it tries to detect if the camera is inside it) and also impractical (you cannot model the surface in 3dsmax, but have to draw the area around all instances of that cgf) for this type of use-case. Is there any cheap way of using the water volume shader without the area? We would be fine with loosing some of the water volume area features (like the under-water detection for example). Thank you.

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