Increasing Stormwater Awareness through Development of a Stormwater Footprint Game

EPA Grant Number: SU834711
Title: Increasing Stormwater Awareness through Development of a Stormwater Footprint Game
Investigators: Zechman, Emily , Barbour, Joshua , Sprintson, Alex
Current Investigators: Zechman, Emily , Baltensperger, April , Barbour, Joshua , Collard, Sam , Giacomoni, Marcio , Kromann, Jenna , Politte, Alyssa , Saathoff, Sean , Scott, Tommi Jo , Sprintson, Alex
Institution: Texas A & M University
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: August 15, 2010 through August 14, 2011
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2010) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Built Environment , P3 Challenge Area - Water , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability


The objective of this proposal is to develop and test tools that can be used to increase public awareness of the issues of watershed sustainability. Urbanization causes changes to the flow regime of receiving water bodies, as impervious areas generate increased volumes of stormwater runoff. Whereas watershed management typically utilizes large infrastructure projects, the choices of residents and landowners at the lot-level can significantly impact hydrologic sustainability. A decentralized management approach could more naturally restore flow regimes and result in significant, long-term cost savings. Despite the importance of the decisions of individual citizens, the public is, in general, unaware that personal decisions, including residence location, type of dwelling, and use of water-efficient technologies, can collectively improve the health of the watershed. Activities, technologies, and campaigns that increase citizens’ awareness of the significance of their decisions may encourage residents to choose more sustainable alternatives. As a result, pollution, erosion, stormwater runoff volumes, flooding, and environmental degradation can be reduced in urbanized areas.


The challenges of sustainable watershed management require an interdisciplinary approach that combines water resources, social scientific, and computational expertise to address the challenges where natural ecosystems and social systems interact. The proposed research will develop a new stormwater footprint game that can be used to educate lay persons about the impact of personal decisions on hydrologic sustainability and increase stormwater awareness. The game utilizes a stormwater sustainability metric, the recently developed Hydrologic Footprint Residence (HFR), to communicate the impact of development decisions. The stormwater footprint game will be made available as a web-based application and an iPhone/iPod touch application. The efficacy of the game and the HFR (versus traditional stormwater metrics) will be tested through an experiment for their capabilities to raise stormwater awareness and educate lay persons about sustainable stormwater management. Students from the Departments of Civil Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Communication, and Visual Sciences will collaborate to develop the gaming system, to field an experiment to test the game, and to make the game available through a web-based implementation and an iPhone/iPad implementation.

Expected Results:

The proposed research will further develop the HFR and test its efficacy as a sustainability metric for educating lay persons about the impact of development decisions on local water resource. The research results will provide guidance on using HFR and gaming, in general, to raise awareness of sustainability issues. This research will also produce the Stormwater Footprint game. To demonstrate the game and provide technology transfer, the game will be implemented as a web-based application and an application for iPhone/iPad platforms. The web-based application will be available for use by stormwater managers across the country as a tool for educational campaigns.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 3 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

watershed management, non-structural best management practices, low impact development, web-based interactive game,

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report