Slowing rain down helps reduce erosion and takes pressure off overtaxed municipal stormwater systems during storm events. It also means that rain is treated as a resource, and saved when it is plentiful to be used later.
Disconnect your downspout from the stormsewer
If the downspouts from your roof lead into a stormsewer standpipe you can redirect the rain to your garden or lawn. It’s easy. The City of Portland provides instructions on how to do it.
If you install a rain barrel at each downspout you can save the water for a sunny day. Run a soaker hose to your garden, and move it around periodically to reach different areas. When you see rain in the forecast, empty your rain barrel so that it’s ready to collect more water. Also find out how to build your own rain barrel. Detailed instructions here!
Enhance the urban forest
If you’ve ever been caught in a downpour, you know that you can stay dry for several minutes by waiting under a large tree. That’s because the leaves can really hold their water, slowing up to 30 per cent of all precipitation. That’s significant! The rain drops then slowly shake off and/or evaporate over an extended period. jj A single large tree can trap 1000 of litres of stormwater each year. So get busy and plant a native tree.
Household wastewater can run into surface water untreated via combined sewer overflows, sewage treatment bypasses, leaking sanitary sewer pipes, or faulty septic systems. Turn that tap off when you’re brushing your teeth, doing the dishes, or soaping up in the shower. Install water saving hardware and appliances the next time you’re upgrading. Governments often have rebates for making these changes. Read more about water conservation here.