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Rainwater Harvesting

Green rain barrel

Rainwater harvesting is the practice of collecting and using rainwater from hard surfaces such as roofs for applications like landscape irrigation or toilet flushing. Rainwater harvesting systems  can be as simple as using a small home-made rain barrel or  installing a large underground cistern or storage tank. By capturing  any amount of rainwater and reusing it, you help reduce runoff  volume and delay and reduce the peak runoff flows from residential  and commercial sites. Other benefits of rainwater harvesting  include:
  • Keeping relatively clean water out of the combined sewer system and make it available for use
  • Reducing the energy and chemicals needed to treat stormwater in San Francisco’s combined sewer and the energy expended transporting water from far away
  • Reducing the volume and peak flows of stormwater entering the sewer, thereby reducing flooding and combined sewer overflows
  • Reducing the need to use drinking water for landscape irrigation and toilet flushing

Due to overwhelming popularity, we've exhausted supplies under the Free Residential Rain Barrel Program and are no longer accepting applications. We hope you are enjoying your new barrel and capturing this season's rain.

Good news ahead! In just a few short weeks, we will be launching an expanded Rainwater Harvesting Program that will offer generous discounts on larger capacity cisterns or up to two rain barrels per customer. Our expanded program will be available to all SFPUC water service customers.  If you would like to be notified when the new Rainwater Harvesting Program launches, please email us at

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Last updated: 2/4/2016 3:26:14 PM