An evaluation of the stormwater footprint calculator and the hydrological footprint residence for communicating about sustainability in stormwater management Academic Article uri icon


  • 2014 ProQuest. Low-Impact Development (LID) can enhance sustainability in stormwater management by attenuating excess runoff. Relevant technologies are typically implemented at individual lots and require the engagement of homeowners and developers. A new educational tool, the Stormwater Footprint Calculator (SFC), was developed to improve knowledge and change attitudes and behavior regarding stormwater sustainability. Similar to online carbon-footprint calculators, the SFC synthesizes a participants answers about lot-and neighborhood-level land use and calculates hypothetical effects on in-stream flows, using hydrologic simulation. Participants receive feedback about their storm-water footprint using a new metric, the Hydrologic Footprint Residence (HFR), which measures the effect of urbani-zation on stream flow based on the duration and extent of flooding. An experiment was fielded to test the SFC as a tool for communicating about sustainable stormwater management and to compare the HFR against an orthodox stormwater metric, peak flow. A convenience sample of undergraduate students (N = 510) participated in the experi-ment. The results indicate that completing the SFC improves knowledge about the causes of stormwater runoff and LID technologies (although not about the effects of stormwater, which was already high among the students), and it influences intention to support sustainable stormwater management. The results also indicate that HFR provides a viable alternative to conventional engineering metrics for communicating a stormwater footprint and shows the value of online calculators for communicating complex civil engineering concepts.

published proceedings

  • Sustainability: Science, Practice, and Policy

author list (cited authors)

  • Scott, T. J., Politte, A., Saathoff, S., Collard, S., Berglund, E., Barbour, J., & Sprintson, A.

complete list of authors

  • Scott, TJ||Politte, A||Saathoff, S||Collard, S||Berglund, E||Barbour, J||Sprintson, A

publication date

  • January 2014