Why You Should Collect Rain and Repurpose It

In use since 2000 BC in countries like China and India, rainwater is even more popular today.

San Franciscans have the opportunity to use rainwater for outdoor and indoor non-potable applications such as flushing the toilet or watering plants.

A “tub” or surface cistern used to collect rainwater run-off from roofs. These cisterns provided water, especially for washing and cooking purposes, to many Shreveport households throughout the nineteenth century. – McNeil Street Pumping Station, McNeil Street and Cross Bayou, Shreveport, Caddo Parish, LA . Photo credit: LSU. Wikimedia Commons.
In use since 2000 BC in countries like China and India, rainwater is becoming popular again.

The SFPUC encourages residents to collect and use rainwater because it:

  1. Helps reduce the amount of stormwater runoff in the streets. This is especially important since San Francisco has a combined sewer system that captures and treats stormwater in addition to what is flushed down the toilets or goes down the sinks.
  2. Saves water, which 2.7 million people need for drinking in the Bay Area, instead of using it for activities that don’t require potable water.
  3. Is the right thing to do for the environment and community by contributing with green initiatives and resource recovery practices.

Three things residents can do to get started on using rainwater:

  1. Install a rain barrel or a cistern. Rain barrels and cisterns are tanks in which collected rainwater is stored. Rain barrels typically have a capacity of less than 100 gallons while cisterns can store more than 100 gallons. Build a barrel or apply for the SFPUC’s rebate to purchase one.
  2. Apply for a Green Infrastructure Grant. This grant <link to details> covers the costs of design and construction of an approved feature, such as rain gardens, permeable pavement and vegetated roofs. Minimum eligibility requirement must be met.
  3. Join a community group and apply for a Watershed Stewardship Grant. This grant could be used for for sidewalk removal and landscaping projects, rainwater harvesting systems, and green infrastructure projects. Urban Watershed Stewardship Grants and Urban Watershed Stewardship Grants for Schools are several ways the grants have been previously used.

The next time it rains, take advantage of collecting rainwater and put it to good use.

Southeast Plant Rain Barrels