Rain as a Resource

Keeping rain and sprinkler water on our yards—and out of storm drains—reduces pollution of our rivers, lakes and bays. Because water washes off our yards, it is important to reduce the amount of pollutants on our property. There are great benefits to having vegetated swales in your yard and using pervious surfaces for patios and walkways.

Rain gardens are landscaped depressions that intercept stormwater runoff and allow nature to remove some of the pollutants that would have otherwise affected water quality. They have become a popular and attractive method for property owners to decrease the impact of their impervious surfaces.

Harvesting rainwater in a barrel or cistern is a good way to reduce stormwater runoff and to save water for a dry spell. If you have gutters on your house, you may be able to collect 55 gallons of water during a 1/2-inch rain by connecting a downspout to a rain barrel or cistern.

Carolina Yards Spotlight: How to Make a Rain Barrel

(For more videos on water-related topics, check the Carolina Clear YouTube Channel.)

Rain As A Resource Action Checklist:

  1. Collect rainwater from your roof in a rain barrel or cistern. 
  2. Create a rain garden to catch, hold, and filter stormwater.  Click here to download the rain garden manual.
  3. Where possible, direct downspouts and gutters to drain onto a well-drained area in the lawn or plant beds where rain will soak into the soil rather than run off the yard.
Lightbulb icon

Did you know?

While stormwater often travels through pipes under our roads, it is not treated at a waste treatment plant. Instead stormwater flows directly into ponds, lakes, rivers and bays. Let only rain down the drain!

thumbs up icon


Consider directing your downspouts into a rain garden or plant bed. You can add an extension to your downspout and even bury it underground. Burying the downspout will keep it out of the way and some people find it unattractive when kept above ground. Be cautious when burying the downspout extender, you don’t want to severe any utility lines.

Additional Resources:

Carolina Clear website

Rainwater Harvesting Publications