Scott, Tommi Jo Grace (2011-08). Measuring the Effectiveness of Educational Tools and Hyrdologic Metrics in Raising Awareness About Stormwater Sustainability. Master's Thesis. Thesis uri icon


  • Urbanization of watersheds leads to the degradation of watershed health, as increased areas of imperviousness produce alterations in the flow regime of receiving water bodies. While centralized infrastructure improvements, such as detention ponds, are typically implemented to manage excess runoff, a more decentralized approach that utilizes Low Impact Development (LID) design principles may better preserve the predevelopment flow regime. Peak flow is traditionally used to design both of these types of infrastructure, but this does not capture the changes in the flow regime, nor does it convey the importance of stormwater sustainability to the general public. To further the general public's understanding about stormwater sustainability, an educational tool was used to take a complicated issue and make it easier to understand by a layperson. The first purpose of this work was to explore the effectiveness of educational tools that may be developed to increase public awareness about issues of watershed sustainability and encourage adoption of sustainable stormwater controls. To increase knowledge about stormwater sustainability and encourage more sustainable practices, a new stormwater sustainability metric, the hydrologic footprint residence (HFR), was recently introduced to measure more holistically the impacts of urbanization on the downstream residence. HFR measures changes to the flow regime as the area of land inundated for one unit of time in response to one rainfall event, which is a more relatable metric than peak flow for the general public. It was the second purpose of this work is to explore the effectiveness of HFR in communicating the impacts of urbanization on watershed health, as compared to traditional stormwater metrics, such as peak flow. To test these different objectives, collaboration with the Communication and the Computer Engineering Departments at Texas A&M University was needed to create a survey, which helped evaluate the effectiveness of the educational tool in educating the general public about stormwater sustainability, and encouraging more sustainable practices. The survey was also used to evaluate and compare the use of HFR and peak flow within the quiz for communicating to the general public about stormwater sustainability. Results indicated the quiz was useful for educating the public about stormwater sustainability, encouraging more sustainable practices. In addition, results indicated the HFR was more effective than peak flow in educating the public about LIDs.

publication date

  • August 2011