Roofs, parking lots, and other impervious surfaces contribute a significant amount of stormwater runoff to our lakes and streams.

The Residential Stormwater Retrofit Program (RSRP) takes an approach to help reduce the amount of stormwater flowing into ditches and creeks by retrofitting homes with rain barrels.

Catching rainwater can help reduce or eliminate stormwater runoff from rooftops that can contribute to water quality degradation, pollution, and erosion. Retrofitting homes with rain barrels will help catch stormwater flows and slowly release the water from the collection system back into the soil for infiltration. This is especially beneficial during the rainy months from November to May.
Approximately 1,000 single-family residences are within the Residential Stormwater Retrofit project area (See project area map) and are therefore potentially eligible for a rain barrel retrofit. Funding for the program is available to retrofit approximately 325 homes.
The average roof square footage for these homes is approximately 2,000 square feet. With average rainfall in the watershed totaling approximately 43 inches per year, each of these residences potentially generates about 45,000 gallons of roof rainwater runoff annually.
Benefit to eligible homeowners:
  • FREE rain barrels (2-4 per residence)
  • FREE installation
  • FREE education

The City’s commitment to the project includes:

  • Feasibility evaluation
  • Project design
  • Rain barrels
  • Rain barrel installation
  • Project inspection
  • Data collection and evaluation

The homeowner's obligation to the project:

  • Attend a 90-minute workshop
  • Provide proof of property ownership
  • Sign a liability waiver
  • Provide permission for data collection by city staff
  • Perform minimal annual maintenance

Eligibility Requirements:

Lake Whatcom Watershed homeowners should consult the Residential Stormwater Retrofit Program map to determine if their home is located in the project area.

All interested city residents can contact a Residential Stormwater Retrofit Program representative at 360- 778-7700 or email

Please provide complete contact information and home address to be considered for the program. Participation is on a first come, first serve basis. Some homes may not be suitable for rain barrels, which will be determined during a site evaluation by City staff.