Why worry about stormwater? (Years 5-6)

Stormwater system at Pilot Park
Stormwater system at Pilot Park, Williams Landing

In this lesson plan, students investigate stormwater processes in their local catchment and how stormwater is managed in Melbourne. They also learn about innovative water sensitive urban design (WSUD) practices, applying them to a redesign of local guttering and drainage.

In natural environments, rainwater mostly evaporates, gets absorbed by plants or soaks into the ground. Urban development dramatically changes these processes, clearing land of vegetation and covering it with 'hard' or impervious surfaces that cannot let water through.

As a result, rainwater runs off these surfaces, through stormwater drains and straight into our waterways – as polluted stormwater – in a very short time. This changes the timing, speed and volume of water flows, which can affect our waterways and bays.

The Stormwater Interactive Model is an educational model of an urban catchment that demonstrates the impact of stormwater on our rivers, creeks and bays. The water flows over the landscape, picking up pollutants along the way, washing them into our rivers and creeks and eventually into our bay.

Download the lesson plan

This lesson plan contains modules explicitly linked to the Victorian Curriculum. It has also been adapted into an excursion tour kit that can be used in conjunction with Melbourne Water's Stormwater Interactive Model, accessible during visits to our Edithvale-Seaford Wetland Education Centre.

Download the full plan or individual activities below.


Activity 1: Our local water catchment

Students research features of their local catchment region using Melbourne Water’s interactive Your Local Waterway website, profile local creeks and consider implications for the health of waterways that feed the catchment.

Duration: two sessions

Activity 2: Managing stormwater

Students research city design features for managing stormwater. They identify how water from rains flows along roadside gutters and drains and investigate who is responsible for drainage features.

Duration: two sessions

Activity 3: Water sensitive urban design in action

Using a local site, students investigate, redesign and build a model of a roadside gutter and drain to address water quality issues. Their redesign is based on water sensitive urban design (WSUD) principles.

Duration: two sessions

Victorian curriculum links

  • VCGGK096: Environmental and human influences on the location and characteristics of places and the management of spaces within them
    Geography > Geographical knowledge > Factors that shape places and influence interconnections
  • VCSSU073: Scientific understandings, discoveries and inventions are used to inform personal and community decisions and to solve problems that directly affect people’s lives
    Science > Scientific understanding > Science as a human endeavour
  • VCSSU076: Solids, liquids and gases behave in different ways and have observable properties that help to classify them
    Science > Scientific understanding > Chemical sciences
  • VCDSTS033: Investigate how people in design and technologies occupations address competing considerations, including sustainability, in the design of solutions for current and future use
    Design and technologies > Technologies and society
  • VCDSTC037: Investigate characteristics and properties of a range of materials, systems, components, tools and equipment and evaluate the impact of their use
    Design and technologies > Technologies contexts > Materials and technologies specialisations


River health and monitoring

Water testing at Maroondah Reservoir

We monitor rivers and creeks so we know if their condition changes or our improvement programs need adjusting. Learn how we assess river health and view current data.

River health


People crowded around a table, inspecting the contents in a white dish

Be a citizen scientist

Get involved in exploring and protecting your local waterway and natural environment with our citizen science programs.

Find out more


From drain to bay: stormwater management

Check out our raingardens and stormwater pages:

Raingarden in Melbourne with the MCG in the background


Stormwater harvesting 

Drainage system





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