With Over 2,000 Residents Participating, Adopt a Drain Website Candidate for Digital Public Good

UNICEF and the government of Norway have created a collaborative process designed to facilitate the development, discovery, scalability, and use of digital public goods by anyone in the world at little or no cost. Digital public goods are online tools that serve to educate, help one thrive in their professional life, enrich cultural experiences, and ultimately do good for the benefit of humankind.

Digital Public Goods web page overlaid on Adopt a Drain SF website.

Adopt a Drain SF, the SFPUC’s popular program that allows citizens to adopt a storm drain (or many storm drains) in San Francisco, has been selected as a candidate for the Digital Public Goods network. Qualifications for the Adopt a Drain website include: being open source, open data, and free for all users.

In a combined sewer system, such as San Francisco’s, where the SFPUC collects and treats sanitary sewage (toilet flushing, bathroom & kitchen sinks, showers) and stormwater runoff (rainwater falling on our roofs, sidewalks and streets), managing stormwater is an important priority for the Agency. While SFPUC crews throughout the year continue to clear leaves and litter from the storm drains to make sure stormwater runoff flows freely to the City’s sewer system during the rainy season, the work is not done alone. As a testament to the impact Adopt a Drain SF is having on the City’s community, over 2,000 San Francisco residents have answered the call and adopted over 3,100 drains citywide. The efforts of these environmental stewards have resulted in work orders for street flooding issues being 36% below anticipated levels.

Drain adopter family with their supplies.
Drain adopter with children and their supplies.

For the SFPUC, every drain adopted makes a difference. In addition to participating in volunteer appreciation parties and tool giveaways, drain adopters get to name their drain. Some of the SFPUC’s recent favorites include: Drainmon Green, Drainy McDrainface, and Make it Drain.

SFPUC crews cleaning a storm drain.