Charleston Rainproof

Have you installed a Rainproof project in Charleston?  

Showcase it on the map below by completing this form.

NEW!  Mini-grants to support the installation of rain gardens are now available thanks to Keep Charleston Beautiful and Clean Cities Sweep!

Approved projects will receive a $200 credit towards purchasing native plants to be used in their new rain garden.  Residents, businesses and organizations within City limits are eligible.  APPLY HERE!  

Projects should ideally be completed in October 2020 and participants will be asked to feature their project on the below Charleston Rainproof Showcase Map.   While this round of funding must be used in fall 2020, a wait list will be maintained  should potential future funding become available.  

UPDATE October 2020:   Due to tremendous interest, the first round of funding has been exhausted, but feel free to apply and you will be placed on a waitlist.

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

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!  The timeline below outlines the phases to implement your first project.  Please reach out to Katie if you have questions, at mckaink@charleston-sc.gov.

-----  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.

Rain Garden & Rainwater Harvesting 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

Master Rain Gardener Program

The Master Rain Gardener program is managed 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.   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 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!