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Using grants, rebates, and rainwater to help your garden flourish

A man in a blue T-shirt checks a valve on a large black water cistern by the side of a red house.

Want to prevent flooding, add attractive landscaping, and provide water for summer irrigation? Adding a cistern or rain garden (or both!) to your yard can help you accomplish all these goals – all while conserving water, reducing utility bills, and keeping our waterways clear of pollution.

And you may be eligible for financial assistance! Through the RainWise rebate program, you can work with an approved contractor to install cisterns and/or rain gardens on private property in  eligible areas of Seattle.

What is RainWise?

RainWise is, a program offered by Seattle Public Utilities in partnership with King County Natural Resources and Parks. The program offers rebates to cover most or all of the costs of installing cisterns and rain gardens to private property owners in King County.

Why should I install a cistern or rain garden in my yard?

Installing cisterns and rain gardens helps ensure that rain from roofs, driveways, and patios is contained. Adding these items to your garden enhances the landscape and ensures that rainwater does not overflow into the sewer systems. They also encourage the notion of everyone doing their part to protect the environment and fellow residents from exposure to hazardous chemicals and products. As you do your part in making this small change, it will have a larger impact to improve the health of everyone in King County.

Can RainWise cover the cost of installing a cistern or rain garden?

Through the RainWise rebate program, you can work with an approved contractor to install cisterns and/ or rain gardens on private property in eligible areas of Seattle. Newer homes with existing stormwater features or large redevelopment projects may not be eligible. Check to see whether your property is eligible.

What if my home isn’t eligible for RainWise? Can I still get financial assistance?

Even though you live in an eligible basin, your property may have some disqualifying criteria. Visit 12,000 Rain Gardens for resources on building your own rain garden, incentive programs and grants, such as the GSI Mini Grant and RainWise Access Grant.

What else can I do to keep my yard healthy and thriving?

As you maintain your garden and make these small changes, look at what you are using to enhance your lawns and gardens landscape. As you buy products to maintain the upkeep of your garden, be sure to read labels. Some gardening products contain hazardous chemicals.

Look for words such as DANGER, WARNING, or CAUTION on the label.

If you find that you have hazardous products, bring them to a hazardous waste location. King County’s Hazardous Waste Management Program has collection sites that will accept hazardous products. The Hazardous Waste Management program’s mission is to help King County residents, businesses, and communities safe from harmful chemical exposures.

Visit the Garden Hotline website for other ways your yard can help keep our local waters clean.

How can I learn more about RainWise?

RainWise offers 30- to 60-minute virtual consultations with private property owners and encourages property owners to help prevent stormwater pollution. A RainWise representative will discuss a map of your property and explain the process to obtain a rebate to purchase cisterns to conserve rainwater. Private property owners can check their eligibility and learn more about the program at:

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