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SFPUC Launches New Rain Guardians Program
Initiative will allow community members to adopt rain gardens that are part of the agency’s green infrastructure
Posted Date: 4/24/2019 9:30 AM
San Francisco, CA— The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) has launched its new Rain Guardians Program, which enables community members to adopt and name a rain garden in their neighborhood. Similar to the popular Adopt-a-Drain Program, this initiative allows San Francisco residents to become “guardians” of these neighborhood assets and keep them free of trash and debris. 
 
“We are so fortunate to have residents who are dedicated to being responsible stewards of our resources,” said SFPUC General Manager Harlan L. Kelly, Jr. “Our successful Adopt-a-Drain program is proof of that commitment, and we look forward to more positive engagement through our new Rain Guardians program.”
 
Rain gardens are a type of green infrastructure that take advantage of the natural processes of soils and plants to collect, slow down and clean stormwater to keep it from overwhelming the City’s sewer system. They also provide many other benefits, including enhancing neighborhood beautification, providing urban greening, supporting biodiversity, and improving air quality through carbon sequestration. 
 
As part of the City’s ongoing Earth Month celebrations, the SFPUC’s Rain Guardians team will be hosting an event where enrollees can sign up, adopt a rain garden, and pick up free Rain Guardians gear, which includes safety vest, gloves, and a trash picker – one set per garden.
 
Event details: 
  • When: Wednesday, April 24, 5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. 
  • Where: SFPUC headquarters, 525 Golden Gate Avenue, lobby
Interested participants can sign-up to adopt and name their rain garden at www.rainguardians.org. For more information about the program, residents can email rainguardians@sfwater.org.
 
The SFPUC is installing rain gardens across the city as part of the Sewer System Improvement Program (SSIP), a multibillion project to improve, upgrade and replace the City’s 100-year-old underground sewer system. 
 
To date, the SFPUC has constructed 60 rain gardens across the city that help manage more 10 million gallons of stormwater per year. Rain gardens are typically depressed below the street level so that stormwater can easily flow in and be treated by the soils and plants. Since the Rain Guardian program launched last month, already more than half of the gardens have been adopted.
 
The low-lying placement of the rain gardens also means they have the tendency to collect debris and trash off the street. While the SFPUC maintenance crews make regular visits to keep them working properly, the program encourages community members to help keep the gardens clean and their neighborhoods beautiful between visits.
 
Community engagement can be an important component to managing these resources, as the Adopt-a-Drain program has proven. Since the launch of that initiative, which allows San Franciscans to “adopt” one of the City’s 25,000 drains, work orders for street flooding issues are down 36 percent below anticipated levels.
 
About the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is a department of the City and County of San Francisco. It delivers drinking water to 2.7 million people in the San Francisco Bay Area, collects and treats wastewater for the City and County of San Francisco, and generates clean power for municipal buildings, residents, and businesses. Our mission is to provide our customers with high quality, efficient and reliable water, power, and sewer services in a manner that values environmental and community interests and sustains the resources entrusted to our care. Learn more at www.sfwater.org
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