Charleston Rainproof

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.

Charleston Rainproof Pilot Project: Fall 2019

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."

One neighborhood stepped up to pilot the program in their specific area using a massing approach. Special thanks to Old Windermere, and the many other volunteers who are excited and committed to being part of a community-wide solution!

Are You Interested in Joining the Pilot Project?

All property owners are welcome to join, residents and businesses, please contact Katie for more information at

-----  Pilot Project Timeline  -----

  1. Phase 1
  2. Phase II
  3. Phase III
  4. Phase IV
  5. Phase V

Phase 1:  Interest and Research

Please note, while Phase I was completed in September 2019, all materials that were discussed at the workshop are all available online and are complete resources.  You need not have attended the workshop to be able to be part of the pilot project.

Demonstration Workshop Photos: Medway Community Garden 9.25.19

Rain Garden Demonstration Workshop 4
Rain Garden Demonstration Workshop
Rain Garden Demonstration Workshop 3
Rain Garden Demonstration Workshop 2

2020 Master Rain Gardener program

Registration is now open for the 2020 Master Rain Gardener program by Clemson Extension Carolina Clear.  It will provide design standards and the knowledge-based skill set necessary to install rain gardens and rainwater harvesting systems on a residential scale. 

Rain Gardens
A rain garden is a landscaped depression full of water-loving plants that absorbs excess rainwater. Rain gardens pair well with rainwater cisterns, also called rain barrels. Rain barrels are typically installed to store rainwater from a rooftop surface, reducing the amount of rainwater that may otherwise directly enter stormwater drainage inlets. Rain gardens can be designed so rain barrel overflow (once it's full) is directed to the rain garden. Rain captured in the cistern can be reused, such as irrigating plants during a dry spell.

Rain Barrels
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 can collected and harnessed on site at the source (where it falls), the community gains lots of benefits such as reduced runoff, increased water quality, and the overall less quantity of water overburdening any undersized drainage infrastructure.

raingarden image Clemson

LEARN MORE about ways YOU CAN HELP be part of a more sustainable  and resilient Charleston!