Systems Planning

Residential Storm Water Credits

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​​​By building a rain garden, cistern, dry well, installing a rain barrel or becoming a RiverSafe Home partner, residential property owners can reduce their stormwater bill while protecting our water supply and environment. 

Doing so is easy:

  • Decide which option(s) work for you
  • Build/install or enroll
  • Contact the city at with a description, including photos if necessary, and address

Credit options

RiverSafe Home partner

The RiverSafe Homes program​ helps Washtenaw County residents identify water quality protection activities they currently practice around their homes, and to commit to additional pollution prevention practices they may not have considered before.​

​Becoming a RiverSafe Home partner can result in a savings of $1.16 per ​quarter and there is no cost to enroll. Once completed, please email with your address to obtain the credit. ​​

Rain barrels

Rain barrels capture water from a roof and hold it for later use such as on lawns, gardens or indoor plants (water from roofs should not be used on vegetables or other things you may consume)​​​. Collecting roof runoff in rain barrels reduces the amount of water that flows from your property. It's a great way to conserve water and it's free water for use in your landscape.

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Rain​ barrels can be purchased online or at local retailers. ​ One to five rain barrels (minimum size 35 gallons) can result in a savings of $3.06 per quarter. The City of Ann Arbor does not sell or provide rain barrels. 

Rain gardens

Rain gardens ​​​are attractive landscaping features that double as areas to allow rain and snow melt to make their way into the soil. Depressions, were water migrates, are planted with deep-rooted native vegetation thereby allowing the soil to absorb excess rainwater runoff from a house or other impervious area. Rainwater is routed to the garden and filtered naturally by the plants and soils of the garden. This filtration process removes nutrients and pollutants.​​ Installing a rain garden can result in a savings of $6.35 per quarter. Only one credit can be taken for utilizing​ a rain garden, dry well or cistern. 

Dry wells

Dry wells are underground structures that store water in the void space between crushed stone or gravel and allow the water to slowly percolate downward into the subsoil​. ​​They are best able t​o handle smaller storms and must include some kind of overflow design. ​​Installing a dry well can result in a savings of $6.35 per quarter.​ Only one credit can be taken for utilizing​ a rain garden, dry well or cistern. 


A cistern, similar to a rain barrel but much larger, is built to catch and store rainwater for irrigation during dryer periods. Cisterns may be located underground, at ground level, or on elevated stands. ​​​​Installing a cistern can result in a savings of $6.35 per quarter.​​ O​​nly one credit can be taken for utilizing​ a rain garden, dry well or cistern. ​​


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