Explore our rebates that lower the cost of a cistern or rain barrel for your home or business, enabling you to harness the bounty of rain we receive in our city.
Rainwater harvesting is the practice of collecting and using rainwater from hard surfaces such as roofs for landscape irrigation or toilet flushing. A rainwater harvesting system can be as simple as using a small home-made rain barrel or installing a large cistern or underground storage tank. Capturing rainwater at your home or business reduces drinking water otherwise needed for irrigation and helps reduce runoff from entering our combined sewer system during storm events. Other benefits of rainwater harvesting include:
- Keeping relatively clean water out of San Francisco’s combined sewer system, making it available for other uses
- Reducing the energy and chemicals needed to treat stormwater
- Helping to reduce flooding and sewer overflows by capturing and using water onsite
For guidance on planning and designing a rainwater harvesting system, review the San Francisco Rainwater Harvesting Manual for non-potable residential uses.
The SFPUC’s Rain Water Harvesting Program that provides discounts for rain barrels and cisterns purchased at the Urban Farmer Store will be ending in October 2021. Effective August 27, 2021, discounts on rain barrels are no longer available. The Urban Farmer Store will continue to provide SFPUC-funded discounts on cisterns and laundry-to-landscape graywater kits for approved applicants who apply by September 12, 2021. Link to the cistern program application.
- Rainwater Harvesting Program Application
- Property Owner Release Form (required for applicants who are renters)
- Rainwater Harvesting Program Application (print version)
Rainwater Harvesting Permit Rebate
For rainwater harvesting projects that need to disconnect the downspout from the sewer system, a permit is required from the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection (DBI). We offer a rebate up to $225 to help cover the cost of obtaining a permit. Not sure if you need a permit? Please review our Rain Barrel or Cistern fact sheets for requirements.
For questions about our Rainwater Harvesting Programs, email us at email@example.com
- Rainwater FAQs
- Rain Barrel and Cistern Sizes Cost Sheet
- Rainwater harvesting calculator
- Rainwater Harvesting Manual
Watch the video below to learn how to build your own Rainwater Harvesting System: