The upper portion of the Waller Creek watershed was selected as the study area for the modeling exercise and the pilot program for several reasons. It is the smallest, fully-urbanized section of a watershed for which we have long-term data about flows in the creek. These things are important because:

  • Urbanized - Being fully urbanized is important because in order to examine the effects rain gardens and cisterns have on the creek the study area and data should not be confused by large changes in development.
  • Small - A small area helps us implement a meaningful program on the ground and measure the effects in a reasonable time frame, years instead of decades.
  • Long-term data - Having long-term data about the creek helps us capture the natural variability in the creek flows before cisterns and raingardens are implemented. This helps us measure if there are changes in a rigorous way.

The City of Austin’s Rain Catcher Pilot Project is collaborating with The Nature Conservancy through their Build Healthy Cities initiative to learn about motivators for adopting green stormwater infrastructure. Behavioral science suggests that behavioral nudges, especially those that leverage social influences, may be powerful motivators that could lead to increased adoption rates in the pilot program. The Nature Conservancy is providing guidance plus conducting surveys and small focus groups to help refine outreach related to this pilot program. These finds can be applied to other urban conservation programs.