StormwaterManagement in Australia :

TheFeasibility of Neighbourhood Action and Community Information

ReportNo WSAA 142

May 1998




Thisreport covers the second stage of a study which aimed to take a nationalapproach to community catchment management of stormwater. Conducted in Perth,Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, it built on the findings of a previous surveyin the four cities. Study and Control catchments were selected in the cities toestablish the feasibility of community action and provision of information inimproving stormwater management.


Withinthe Study catchments, three experimental conditions were established: one whereactivities were concentrated and residents received regular information;another where residents received information only; and another where residentswere subject only to spill-over effects from the other areas. The experimentaldesign aimed to increase awareness, visibility and commitment, three areasshown in the recycling literature to assist in encouraging pro-environmentalbehaviour. The experiment was actively conducted over a nine month Interventionphase, and then a similar period of Monitoring was undertaken.


Residentsin the Study catchments were offered a number of levels of active involvementaimed at assisting with stormwater management. These levels ranged from joininga group through to involvement at only their house and verge. The history ofthe resultant groups was recorded, along with other community activity. Thosewho indicated an original intention to be involved, but did not do so inpractice, or ceased involvement at some stage, were later interviewed toestablish why their intentions were not fulfilled.


Communitygroups, schools, service clubs and local businesses were also invited to participatein the stormwater management activities. Relevant government agencies agreed tobe involved with the community catchment groups.


Information,personally addressed to residents, was both attitudinal and educational. Thetargeted attitudes were those shown in the Stage 1 survey to predict reportedpro-environmental behaviour or potential behaviour.


Threetelephone surveys were conducted during the Intervention phase of the study andmeasured attitudes, awareness, knowledge, and reported behaviour. A final doorto door survey was conducted at the completion of the Monitoring phase. Thissurvey, apart from the above repeated measures, made preliminary attempts at“neighbourhood mapping”, and also investigated residents’ willingness-to-payfor catchment specific projects to improve stormwater quality. Attempts werealso made to measure any physical/behavioural changes in the catchments.


Thisreports the outcomes of the community intervention and action; the Interventionsurveys; the physical audits of the catchments; and finally of thepost-Monitoring survey. Cross-city comparisons are made, and conclusions andrecommendations are drawn that are generalisable to practice at a nationallevel.


Finally,specific requirements for future investigation are identified.


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