SAM (stormwater activity model) for smart catchments
Grant number: Stage 1: 2084. Stage 2: 3087
Grant funding: Stage 1: $50,000
Stage 2: $50,000
Local government area/s: Hornsby Shire Council
Location/s: Developed in Hornsby Shire Council but available state-wide
Project partners: Hornsby Shire Council
Effective education programs must be supported by resources that engage participants and encourage them to change their behaviour and practices. Interactivity and innovation help to engage learners. Hornsby Shire Council wanted to develop a hands-on resource for the community that graphically illustrated the threat of stormwater pollution to the health of waterways.
The objectives of this project were to:
- assist in developing the key knowledge and associated behaviours that would help different sections of the community learn how to improve water quality
- plan and prepare educational materials to be used in conjunction with the stormwater activity model (SAM)
- use SAM and the educational materials as a feature in future and ongoing stormwater education programs in Hornsby Shire
- make SAM and the educational materials available to other organisations for use in conjunction with their stormwater education activities.
SAM works by releasing water that washes over the model to demonstrate rainwater flowing over a landscape and down drains into a waterway. The model includes roads, houses, shops and factories in an urban and rural setting. Viewers interact with SAM, for example, they can place objects in different locations and see the impact of their actions.
As a portable, interactive catchment model, SAM demonstrates:
- the impacts of regular activities on a stormwater system
- structural strategies that improve the water quality of waterways and the stormwater system.
Methodology and tools
Before SAM was designed and constructed, a literature and graphics search was undertaken to provide the artist and builder with ideas for the model. The requirements were that it be portable, interactive and able to:
- demonstrate water flows in a catchment and how pollutants are transported to waterways
- remind people of all ages and occupations that everyone has an effect on water quality in their local streams, creeks and rivers
- demonstrate how everyone's activities and choices impact on water quality.
Educational materials were developed to support the project's messages and provide reinforcement and extension of the concepts SAM demonstrates.
SAM can be used independently or with other stormwater education programs for schools, industry and the general community. A framework has been put in place for the continued state-wide availability of SAM and the supporting educational materials. Email and the internet promote the project and the availability of SAM for hire. SAM's presence at events throughout NSW has been the best form of promotion.
The following resources were developed to support the SAM project and achieve the planned outcomes:
- a SAM stormwater fact sheet - SAM says you are the solution
- an industry and residential stormwater poster - SAM says keep the drain for rain
- SAM's activity kit - a school resource containing activities and teachers' notes for various knowledge levels
- four stormwater display boards - 'Put your litter in the bin'; 'Wash your car on the grass'; 'Pick up after your pet' and 'Sweep up leaves and dirt before they wash away'
- SAM fridge magnets, stickers, badges and calico bags with the message, 'SAM says the drain is just for rain'.
- Positive feedback from those who participated in SAM educational activities in regard to their awareness of stormwater pollution issues and strategies (approximately 17,000 people outside Hornsby Shire between February and June 2001).
- Incorporation of SAM into Hornsby Shire Council's environmental education strategy.
Resource sharing among organisations can be very effective. Publicity and promotion of the resources play a major role in achieving project outcomes.
SAM has been used in various events throughout NSW and is available for state-wide hire.
Project resources and further information
Hornsby Shire Council website
Stage 2 grant details
Stage 3 grant details
Page last updated: 26 February 2011