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Rainwater Harvesting

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Rainwater harvesting is the practice of capturing, infiltrating or utilizing rainwater for irrigation use rather than allowing it to run off the property. Learn about the City of Davis permit requirements for collecting rainwater.

May 6, 2015 Rain Water Retention Workshop Presentations and Handouts

Rainwater Harvesting & Retention


  • Conserve water
  • Improved water quality going into storm drains
  • Provides habitat for plants, animals and insects


  • Direct rain water away from impervious pavement
  • Connect downspouts to rain barrels/cisterns or landscaping
  • Use landscape contours to direct and retain rainwater

Landscape Features

  • Swales: vegetated landscaped depressions that absorb pollutants and infiltrate runoff
  • Dry creek beds: stone-lined channels that promote infiltration and convey water
  • Rain gardens: shallow vegetated basins that collect, retain and infiltrate runoff
  • Pervious paving: allows rainwater to infiltrate back into the soil and reduces and infiltrates runoff

Rain Barrels & Cisterns

  • Capture rainwater to improve quality and store for dry months
  • In winter, water captured can be used for indoor plants
  • Hold between 40 to 75 gallons of water
  • Need to have a screen to keep debris and mosquitoes out
  • Cisterns are larger scale systems that can require pumps and involve more extensive work and permitting

Rainwater Harvesting & Retention Resources

5th street rain garden

American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association

Rainwater Capture Act of 2012 (AB 1750)

Rain Barrel Placement & Maintenance

Strategy to Optimize Resource Management of Storm Water (STORMS)

U.S. EPA Low-Impact Design

U.S. EPA Rain Barrels