The video competition highlights the importance and awareness of rainwater collection


Sebastian Rubino / [email protected]

Stormwater Partners of Southwest Washington is hosting a contest where participants can submit a creative video to explain why stormwater collection is important.

The grand prize is $500 and there is also an honorable mention prize of $100.

Eric Lambert, the clean water specialist at Clark County Public Works, said he hopes the contest will lead to greater awareness of the environmental need for rainwater collection.

“The purpose of the competition is to motivate students and help them create messages for the community related to clean water and the protection of our water resources, and to give them an opportunity to demonstrate their creativity,” said Lambert. “Everyday activities that we all participate in can have an impact on stormwater. So, if people are aware of the little things they can potentially do differently, whether it’s picking up litter, picking it up behind your pet, handling chemicals and fertilizers around the yard…they together can make a huge difference. “

The number one cause of water pollution right now is “non-point source pollution,” Lambert said, which includes things left on hard surfaces and in yards when it rains. The drain collects the pollutants from the items on its way to the nearest stream.

The idea for the video contest mimics another by The River Starts Here, a Portland Metro coalition focused on the importance of stormwater.

Because younger people are often surrounded by video content, Lambert said he’s excited to see what participants come up with.

“It was a pleasure,” he said. “It was also a pleasure for the jury to see the incoming videos.”

Because Washington state was once surrounded by Douglas fir forests, Lambert said the trees acted like a “big sponge,” but today he said the environment has been transformed with the addition of homes and communities.

“We had to move (the water) on as quickly as possible,” he said. “This is how we built our system with a rainwater channel. It has many great community building benefits, but also some downsides that affect water quality as all pollutants are absorbed in channels and direct their concentration into the water.”

Before creating a video, Lambert would like participants to read the resources that the Southwest Washington Stormwater partners have on their website. From there, he encourages them to pick a topic they’re passionate about and urges them to be creative throughout the process. He said there are a number of ways to create videos, so “if you focus on something you’re passionate about, it’s going to be a great video.”

One of the topics to choose from is “Community Storytelling”. Through this theme, students can tell their story about their connection to water, which could include going fishing with their grandparents or focusing on the importance of water in their lives.

“If you tell these stories, go back and look into your heart, you will find some great content for your storytelling,” Lambert said.

Other options could be a video about modes of transport that reduce pollution or the mantra “Leave no Trace Behind”.

Last year, the winning video was called “Better Habits for Better Habitats,” which was about being more mindful when hiking trails or caring about the environment.

The honorable mention was called “The Grattix Box” which addressed the use of a Grattix box to collect the various contaminants that can accumulate in rainwater.

Contest information and rules can be found online at


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