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.

Have you installed a Rainproof project in Charleston?  


Showcase it on the map above by completing this form.

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."

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. 

Partnerships Roots and Shoots logo

Thank you to Roots and Shoots for partnering and supporting Charleston Rainproof!  The nursery provides guidance to residents interested in installing a rain garden.  Roots and Shoots has trained staff and has a section of their businesses specifically dedicated to plants suitable for rain gardens.  They also maintain inventory of supplies needed for rain garden and rainwater harvesting installation in addition to offering design and install services.  

Businesses interested in supporting the Rainproof program are encouraged to reach out.

-----  Interested in Installing a Rain Garden?   Follow the Easy 5-Step Guide Below!  -----

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

Phase 1:  Interest and Research

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 provides 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 harvesting systems using a "treatment train" approach, this is where any overflow after a rain barrel is full is directed into the rain garden.

Rainwater Harvesting Systems: Rain Barrels and Cisterns

Rainwater harvesting systems, such as rain barrels and cisterns, are typically installed to capture and store rainwater from a rooftop surface, reducing the amount of rainwater that may otherwise directly enter stormwater drainage inlets. .  Rainwater captured in the harvesting system can be reused, such as irrigating plants during a dry spell.  Rain barrels and cisterns perform the same function, however cisterns are usually a larger capacity and more commonly used in commercial projects.  

Why It Matters
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 is collected and harnessed on site at the source (where it falls), the community gains lots of benefits such as reduced runoff, water quality protection, and the overall less quantity of water overburdening older, undersized drainage infrastructure.

raingarden image Clemson

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