We’re Helping Our Neighbors Get RainWise!


Remember the T-shirts? Seattle Rain Festival: January through December. Ha! We are indeed blessed with abundant water and a green environment, but all this rain also creates problems. During heavy rains, our storm water system overflows, and combined sewer overflows pollute our precious Puget Sound.

Fortunately, there’s something Ballard homeowners can do to help out: Manage storm water at home!

In the West Ballard and East Ballard/West Phinney Basins*, property owners can get beautiful and functional landscaping, and store rain water for watering gardens – with up to 100% of the cost paid by the City of Seattle. REALLY!

Sustainable Ballard is excited to be partnering with Seattle Public Utilities and King County to get the word out about RainWise rebates. This program is a win-win-win for homeowners: our stormwater is safely managed on site, we get enhancements to our yards and property, and the average RainWise rebate is $4,400. 200 (and counting!) Ballard households have already taken advantage of this program.

* The West Ballard Basin Rebate area is (approximately) west of 15th NW, and between NW 56th and 85th Streets.  The East Ballard/West Phinney Basin Rebate area includes 15th Ave NW up the hill to (approximately) Palatine.  Visit rainwise.seattle.gov for exact boundaries.

RainWise Resources

We’re here to walk you through the RainWise process.  Please browse the RainWise Resources in the right sidebar.

More about “Get RainWise”

The Problem

  • When it rains, runoff flows from our roofs and yards, carrying oil, fertilizers, pesticides, sediment and other pollutants downstream.
  • Storm water is the #1 polluter of Puget Sound.
  • The problem is made worse in Seattle, where our antiquated sewage system combines storm water and raw sewage in one pipe.
  • During a hard rain, this mixture of toxic runoff and raw sewage is too much for our sewage treatment plants to handle, and the excess is dumped directly into the Sound.
  • Overflows happen an average of 318 times per year.
  • In 2010, 190 million gallons of untreated sewage and toxic storm water flowed into our lakes, streams, and Puget Sound.
  • This damages water resources and harms aquatic life.

Learn More

YOU Can Be Part of the Solution
  • An important part of the solution is for landowners to install rain gardens and cisterns.
  • A rain garden acts like a native forest by collecting, absorbing, and filtering storm water runoff from rooftops.
  • Rain gardens are simply shallow depressions constructed with soil mixes that absorb water quickly and support healthy plant growth.
  • They can be shaped to fit your yard and can be planted with a variety of plants to fit your landscape, including edibles.
  • Cisterns are above-ground tanks that capture rainwater from your roof, allowing you to use it for watering during dry spells.

Learn More

The Process

It’s as easy as 1-2-3!

Step 1 See If You Qualify for a RainWise Rebate
(The West Ballard Basin Rebate area is (approximately) west of 15th NW, and between NW 56th and 85th Streets.  The East Ballard/West Phinney Basin Rebate area includes 15th Ave NW up the hill to (approximately) Palatine.)
Step 2 Find a RainWise Contractor
Step 3 Get Your RainWise Project Installed & Claim Your Rebate
Most contractors will handle all the paperwork.

  • Good to Know:
    • RainWise will reimburse generally 60-80% of the cost of installing a rain garden or cistern.
    • The average rebate is $4,400. Learn More about Rebates
    • If you live in Seattle but don’t qualify right now, hang tight! RainWise will expand through most of Seattle by the end of 2018; watch your mailbox for news from SPU.


Project Lead: Jenny Heins