Rainfall Management

Is rainwater an issue at your home or community? 

It can be frustrating when a swift rainfall floods your lawn or washes away all your hard work on your landscape. In contrast, not enough rain makes it annoying and expensive to water during dry months. With our changing climate, we know that rainfall is going to come harder and faster and dry periods are going to be longer, so we all have a stake in trying to understand how to manage the water that is or isn’t on our properties. 

Whether it’s too much, or too little, Extension provides resources on how to manage rainfall and what you can do to have a healthy and flourishing landscape. 

What do we mean when we talk about rainwater?

Stormwater: Rainwater and snowmelt that flows off surfaces such as roofs, parking lots, streets. 

Drought-tolerant: Plant species that are able to withstand extended periods of dry weather.  

Permeable surfaces: Surfaces made from materials which allow rainwater and snowmelt to infiltrate into the subsurface of soil or gravel below. 

Impermeable surfaces: Surfaces made from traditional materials which shed off water.  

Green stormwater infrastructure: Infrastructure, such as rain gardens, green roofs, permeable pavements and rainwater harvesting, that are designed to mimic natural hydrologic practices. Also called Nature-based solutions. 

Infiltration: The process of stormwater soaking into the ground. 

Rainwater harvesting: Collecting rainwater in containers such as rain barrels and cisterns for later use. 

Rain garden: Bowl-shaped landscape features that capture and absorb rainfall and snowmelt for infiltration on-site. 

Bioswale: Landscape features that capture rainwater and snowmelt and convey the water while allowing it to soak into the ground. 

Green roof: Roofs covered with vegetation that slow down rainwater. Typically optimize energy conservation.  

Xeriscaping: A drought-resistant landscaping practice utilizing plant species tolerant to long periods of dry weather and covering soil with mulch or rocks to retain moisture.