in partnership
(Image: RainWise Program)

Be RainWise: How a rain garden benefits your home and Puget Sound

So obviously we don’t need to tell you it rains here. Maybe you love it. Maybe not so much. Either way, you know rain helps keep our region green and beautiful.

But what about when there’s just too much rain for the ground to absorb? What happens to all of that water that rushes down the gutter, filling and clogging storm drains?

Sabrina Register, Public Information Officer at Seattle Public Utilities, tells us water that runs off surfaces can collect all sorts of pollution and debris as it trickles into our streams, lakes and Puget Sound.


You may feel helpless as the rain flows down your street, carrying chemicals and pollutants. But there's something you can do to help.

The King County Wastewater Treatment Division and Seattle Public Utilities have teamed up to create RainWise, a rebate program for homeowners to better manage rainwater through rain gardens and cisterns. Through the program, eligible homeowners can receive rebates for installing rain gardens or cisterns on their property.

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Register says, "By incorporating the use of rain gardens and cisterns, we can help reduce localized flooding, as well as improve water quality in our creeks, lakes and Puget Sound."

To date, over 2,000 rain gardens and cisterns have been installed on properties throughout the Puget Sound region.

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What are some of these homeowners saying about the program?

Becky says, "I already love gardening so RainWise seemed like a great opportunity to get some professional landscaping which I normally wouldn’t indulge in. Since then, I’ve also learned about the environmental benefits of rain gardens, which made me even more excited about the program."

Maria was interested in getting a rain garden because "it looks good but does not require much watering."

And Amy notes that her rain gardens are "so cheerful and lovely - they are filled with a selection of grasses and native, flowering plants."

As you walk around your neighborhood, you may notice an "I’m Rainwise" sign proudly standing in front yards. Check out the rain gardens and cisterns featured at these homes - they are helping reduce pollution in King County.

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Do you want to do your part, but aren’t a homeowner? Register notes that "fixing oil leaks and washing cars at a commercial car wash also addresses some of these pollution sources." Everyone can play a role in keeping our local waters clean.

If you’re ready to see if you qualify for the RainWise rebate program, you can enter your address and get more information about the program.