RainReady℠ Approach

We help people manage flooding and drought in a time of climate change.

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Is your property affected by flooding or a wet basement? Click Here to learn how to get started with RainReady today!

How does RainReady work?

There's no one-size-fits-all approach to becoming RainReady, and we fully expect that your approach will be shaped to meet your needs. Our RainReady approach helps people come together to plan, implement and advocate for change.


What does a RainReady community look like?

To become RainReady, communities should coordinate efforts on private properties and in public spaces to effectively manage water. This process can take many forms, such as:

  • Coordinating home building, plumbing, and landscaping improvements
  • Installing permeable pavement, trees, and landscaped sidewalks to capture runoff from alleys, basketball and tennis courts, and parking lots
  • Creating ponds, parks, urban forests, and wetlands to serve as temporary water storage
  • Establishing protected zones alongside swollen or dry lakes, rivers, and streams
  • Using monitoring technology such as smart water meters and rain sensors
  • Implementing leak detection, audit, and repair programs to reduce water waste

Some of these measures might work wonders for your community, while others might be less effective. It’s important to assess your community’s needs to figure out what solutions will work best and prepare a plan of action.

Where have RainReady practices already been adopted?

The RainReady initiative is a distillation and expansion of practices already adopted by thousands of villages, towns, and cities across the country and the world. Landscaped sidewalks, permeable paving, green roofs, swales, French drains, rain gardens, rain barrels, and cisterns are certainly not new ideas. But as more undeveloped land is paved over and rainfall patterns become less predictable, communities are starting to move beyond these simple measures and take an integrated approach to water management, ensuring that every property, street, and neighborhood is protected by a broad range of Rain Ready practices. View current and completed projects here.

Core Principles

A community RainReady plan provides the backbone of a successful water management program. It should strive for the following principles:

  • Easy implementation and replication: Ensuring that any services and tools developed can be adopted by towns and cities across the region.
  • Community-wide efforts: Bringing efficiency savings by serving the whole community and addressing the multifaceted mix of problems that residents face.
  • Evidence-based plans: Prioritizing investment based on a robust analysis of the risks property owners and residents face.
  • Customer-based approaches: Meeting the needs of individual property owners and leveraging local and private investment for wider public gain
  • Affordable and fair programs: Solutions that can benefit all affected residents and businesses.
  • Integration: Seeking opportunities to leverage infrastructure investments in transportation, housing, and energy that bring wider environment, social and economic benefits;
  • Multi-tiered solutions: Water-related problems occur at many levels, and thus action is needed at all levels – from individual residents to municipalities, watersheds and regions.
  • No negative downstream impacts: Avoiding negative impacts on neighboring communities
  • Nature-based solutions: Use of green infrastructure, since it brings wider benefits to the community than large-scale, engineered fixes.
  • Fiscal fairness and transparency: Engaging all stakeholders equitably in community water management discussions, recommendations, and expenditures.
  • Preventative measures: Promoting the adoption of zoning ordinances, permits, and incentives to encourage land use and development consistent with integrated water management practices.


“There are many actions that residents can take to address the challenges of storm water. RainReady, building off of the Sustainable Backyards program, will be a one stop shop of solutions that will strengthen homes and neighborhoods.”

Karen Weigert
Former Chief Sustainability Officer, City of Chicago