June 25 2012

Seattle, Washington’s Rain Wise Program: Making Managing On-Site Stormwater Easy

Suggested RainWise Interventions

Cities across the United States are turning to property owners to help reduce the amount of stormwater runoff making its way into sewers and stormwater drains. In Seattle, Washington, the Residential RainWise Program aims to reduce the impact of stormwater running off of private impervious surfaces in the city by providing homeowners with resources and incentives to implement low-cost green infrastructure techniques to mitigate stormwater.

By appealing to property owners, the city hopes RainWise property interventions will reduce flooding, protect property and restorewaters for people and wildlife.” The program aims to encourage property owners to capture rainwater, reduce impervious surface, and “help the rain soak into the soil, just like it does in … native forests.”  The RainWise Program website makes it easy for residents to find the footprint of their property and select the appropriate RainWise intervention for their property from a list of recommendations.  The city has also developed a database of licensed contractors, engineers, and landscape architects to help residents with installing interventions, such as rain gardens and cisterns that require a permit.

Currently there is a rebate program for residents based on the amount of square feet of roof runoff that is controlled by cisterns and rain gardens in select areas of the city that have combined sewer overflow issues. The city hopes to increase the area of the city that is eligible for these rebates.

As the cost of installing and maintaining traditional stormwater infrastructure, such as storm drains, continues to increase, cities like Seattle, Washington will continue to look for ways to encourage property owners to sustainably manage rainwater onsite.

What other cities are providing programs and incentives for property owners to manage stormwater on-site before it makes its way into sewers or storm drains?

RainWise Interventions

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

Akua Nyame-Mensah

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A but raised in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire and Tunis, Tunisia, Akua Nyame-Mensah holds an A.B in Growth and Structure of Cities from Bryn Mawr College and a Masters in City Planning (M.C.P) with a concentration in land use and environmental planning from the University of Pennsylvania. Akua is currently serving as an AmeriCorps volunteer for a community-based watershed and riparian restoration education program at a Conservation District in Tumwater, Washington. As a Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) Green Associate and National Association for Interpretation Certified Guide, Akua enjoys learning about and sharing her knowledge of green infrastructure and low-impact development techniques with others.

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This entry was posted on Monday, June 25th, 2012 at 3:10 pm and is filed under Environment, Infrastructure, Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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