Charleston Rainproof is about us, the whole community- working together towards a common goal of addressing increasingly frequent and heavy rainfall.
The concept is simple: utilize both public and private spaces to capture rainwater. The program draws inspiration from Amsterdam Rainproof, and is a recommendation from the Dutch Dialogues.
Have you installed a Rainproof project in Charleston?
Showcase it on the map above by completing this form.
Charleston Rainproof Pilot Project
The City of Charleston is collaborating with Clemson Extension and a group of eager volunteers willing to install new rain gardens and rain barrels at their properties. The project will track data on the gallons of rainwater the new systems capture and ultimately divert from the City's central stormwater drainage system. The data will be available for others to learn from.
"Amsterdam's motto is 'Every Drop Counts', and they believe small individual actions incrementally add up to have a collective community-wide impact that better manages flooding and water quality."
Are You Interested in Joining the Pilot Project?
All property owners are welcome to join, residents and businesses! The timeline below outlines the phases to implement your first project.
Thank you to Roots and Shoots for partnering and supporting Charleston Rainproof! The nursery provides guidance to residents interested in installing a rain garden. Roots and Shoots has trained staff and has a section of their businesses specifically dedicated to plants suitable for rain gardens. They also maintain inventory of supplies needed for rain garden and rainwater harvesting installation in addition to offering design and install services.
Businesses interested in supporting the Rainproof program are encouraged to reach out.
----- Interested in Installing a Rain Garden? Follow the Easy 5-Step Guide Below! -----
The first step is for a property owner to express interest to install a rain garden and/or rainwater harvesting system on their property! Renters are encouraged to seek permissions from their landlords.
Rain gardens need to drain within 24 hours! You will want to make sure your yard has the correct drainage conditions for a rain garden. If the water is gone in 24 hours or less, you have good soil for a rain garden. If water sits or pools longer than 24 hours, this is an indicator the soil is not ideal for a rain garden and it may be more suitable to a bog garden instead. Perform a simple percolation (perc) test following the guidance on page 3 of A Guide to Rain Gardens in SC
Design: Then utilize Clemson resources to analyze a site, determine ideal location, and complete the "Rain Garden Worksheet" on page 11 of A Guide to Rain Gardens in SC
As desired, a Master Rain Gardener can verify site analysis prior to construction. A full list of professionals for hire (design and/or install) who graduated from Clemson's Master Rain Gardener course can be found online here.
Phase IV: Showcase Your Project and Provide Capacity Metrics
Now that you have installed your project, showcase a few pictures proudly on our new Rainproof Showcase Map, seen at the top of this webpage. Showcase it on the map by completingthis form!
At the same time, we'll capture some basic data from you so we can determine gallons of rainwater your system(s) captures and diverts from the stormwater system and share lessons learned with others in our beautiful city.
City can track metrics and compare with CoCoRaHS rainfall data
Inputs Needed for Rain Gardens
Size of impervious areas being diverted to rain garden (square feet)
Volume capacity of rain garden (gallons)
Inputs Needed for Rainwater Harvesting
Volume capacity of rain barrel or cistern (gallons)
The Master Rain Gardener program is managed by Clemson Extension Carolina Clear. It provides design standards and the knowledge-based skill set necessary to install rain gardens and rainwater harvesting systems on a residential scale. While it is not a required program to install rain gardens or rainwater harvesting systems, it is a hands on resource to support installing these items. Click here for more information.
Rain Gardens A rain garden is a landscaped depression full of water-loving plants that absorbs excess rainwater. Rain gardens pair well with rainwater harvesting systems using a "treatment train" approach, this is where any overflow after a rain barrel is full is directed into the rain garden.
Rainwater Harvesting Systems: Rain Barrels and Cisterns
Rainwater harvesting systems, such as rain barrels and cisterns, are typically installed to capture and store rainwater from a rooftop surface, reducing the amount of rainwater that may otherwise directly enter stormwater drainage inlets. . Rainwater captured in the harvesting system can be reused, such as irrigating plants during a dry spell. Rain barrels and cisterns perform the same function, however cisterns are usually a larger capacity and more commonly used in commercial projects.
Why It Matters Rain barrels and rain gardens catch rainwater which would otherwise flow into drainage infrastructure and over dirty streets. These approaches work in concert with nature to collect and filter runoff, mitigate flooding, and minimize pollution while helping to save money and energy too. When rainwater is collected and harnessed on site at the source (where it falls), the community gains lots of benefits such as reduced runoff, water quality protection, and the overall less quantity of water overburdening older, undersized drainage infrastructure.