Stormwater awareness in the Lower Parramatta River catchment
Grant number: 2220
Grant funding: $257,650
Local government area/s: Ashfield, Burwood, Concord and Drummoyne (now City of Canada Bay), Hunters Hill, Leichhardt, Marrickville and Ryde councils
Location/s: Lower Parramatta River
Project partners: Ashfield, Burwood, Concord and Drummoyne (now City of Canada Bay), Hunters Hill, Leichhardt, Marrickville and Ryde councils
The Lower Parramatta River covers the natural watershed of the Parramatta River lying directly west of the Sydney CBD and is part of the Sydney Harbour catchment. The catchment covers eight highly urban council areas. A community education program on stormwater pollution was planned which would require the relevant councils to adopt a coordinated approach.
The project sought to:
- increase knowledge and understanding of living in a catchment and how catchments operate
- increase awareness and understanding of stormwater issues and links between individual and collective actions and waterways
- develop an appreciation for the environmental and recreational value of the catchment by recognising and promoting local sites
- develop stronger partnerships between the councils, the community and other relevant organisations.
The project provided a continuous forum for the eight councils to regularly discuss and integrate stormwater issues, educational strategies and proposed activities. The involvement of each council varied, and reflected resource availability at the time of the project's events and activities.
The project focused on three main target groups: non-English speaking background (NESB) communities - Arabic, Chinese and Italian - mainstream groups and council operational staff.
Methodology and tools
The project consisted of several user-specific educational programs, coordinated by the councils across the catchment. The project design also included evaluation of each component.
The NESB program
A culturally-specific stormwater education program was developed and delivered to the Arabic, Chinese and Italian communities in the catchment. Fifteen bilingual educators provided community information sessions and site tours. The program involved a special partnership with the Ethnic Communities Council of NSW (ECC), building on expertise learnt through the Ethnic communities stormwater education project.
Other activities involved arts workshops, promotional activities at cultural events and media releases targeting the ethnic media.
The recreational user program
Through face-to-face interviews conducted at recreational sites across the catchment, mainstream communities with a low awareness of stormwater issues were identified. The information from these interviews was also used to identify locations for stormwater educational and promotional campaigns that would be accessible on a catchment-wide scale.
Council outdoor staff program
The project linked with the DECCW's training program, 'Urban stormwater management in local council operations, phase 2 - 'Training for local council outdoor staff', and provided council outdoor staff with individual training, train the trainer sessions and promotional material in the form of a fluorescent safety vest with the message 'The drain is just for rain'.
The following were developed:
- a community arts workshop to create 'The drain is just for rain' mosaic (Italian community)
- promotional material
- media releases for the ethnic media
- 'Catchment Month' - identifying the Lower Parramatta River catchment as an individual catchment
- a cinema advertising campaign across the catchment - 'The drain is just for rain'
- library displays
- an Italian stormwater card game
- a dog project - a dog brochure, a poster and POOch Pouches.
- Over 350 council staff were involved in direct face-to-face stormwater training.
- Staff, students and other people from 20 schools, 15 local environment groups and 10 local libraries were involved in the project, and received positive stormwater pollution messages.
- Members of the West Region Chinese Association, the Chinese Australian Services Society Women's Group and the Italian Forum were involved in the project, many of whom became stormwater campaign 'ambassadors'.
- 50,000 dog brochures, 250 posters and 7,500 POOch Pouches were distributed throughout the catchment, making dog owners aware of their responsibilities in regard to their dogs' waste and the state of the local waterways.
Community art workshops are a great way of bringing about behavioural change.
Project resources and further information
Contact the City of Canada Bay Council on (02) 9911 6555.
See related case study: Ethnic communities stormwater education project
See related case study: Community watch-dog project
Stage 2 grant details
Page last updated: 26 February 2011