Rainwater Rewards Program

The City of Victoria has developed an incentive program for properties that manage rainwater sustainably.

Sustainable rainwater management practices allows us to use rain as a resource. This helps developed watersheds (such as in an urban landscape) mimic the function of natural systems. Using methods such as rain gardens, green roofs, bioswales and others helps to slow and clean rainwater, either capturing it for use in landscaping and within buildings or slowly diffusing it back to the natural water table.

Application Process

Prior to applying, please ensure you have reviewed the steps to qualify for the program, including the Rainwater Management Standards (found in 'Appendix A - Rainwater Rewards Pre-Approval Guide'.) This guide will help you collect the information needed to complete an application.

Rainwater Management Methods

The following are part of the Rainwater Rewards program. Please check the Rainwater Management Standards to find out which methods are accepted for your property type. 


Rain Barrels and Cisterns
Rain barrels and cisterns can be used to collect rainwater for reuse. The larger your system is, the more water will be kept out of the stormwater system. In Victoria, most of the rain falls in the spring and autumn, but the watering needs are highest in the summer so it is beneficial to have a larger storage capacity. The collected non-potable water can be used to water gardens and lawns or indoors in toilets and urinals.

Rain Barrels: A rain barrel is a specialized container, connected to the downspout from a building, that is designed to collect and store rainwater for reuse.

Cisterns: Cisterns (or holding tanks) collect rainwater and have a larger storage capacity than rain barrels. They can be elevated, placed at ground level or buried underground. A dispersal or irrigation system will allow for the reuse of this water.


Infiltration Chambers
Infiltration chambers are underground tanks or pipes with small holes that are designed to slowly release water into the ground over time. They primarily act to slowly return rainwater to the natural water table. This water is not reused. They can be designed to help clean the water as well.

 

Permeable Paving
Permeable paving is hard surfacing that allows rain to flow through the surface and into the soil below. Permeable paving can be used instead of standard asphalt and concrete for surfacing sidewalks, driveways, or parking areas. It can add character to your site while maintaining access and durability for vehicles and foot traffic. It can improve water quality by slowing runoff and breaking down pollutants that would otherwise enter our local waterways.

There are a variety of permeable paving options, including:
• paving blocks, cobble stones, or interlocking concrete pavers
• concrete or fibrous grid systems filled with sand, gravel or plants
• specialty mixes of permeable concrete and asphalt
• grass strips in the middle of a driveway (driveway planting strips)

Rain Gardens
A rain garden is a shallow depression that uses soil and plants to manage runoff from hard areas such as roofs, roads and driveways. The plants and a layer of absorbent compost can hold several inches of rainwater and allow the stormwater to slowly seep into the ground. You can improve the look of your home and help the environment by incorporating rain gardens into your yard.
Rain gardens mimic nature by collecting, absorbing and filtering stormwater runoff.
The first inch of rainfall, also known as the first flush, is responsible for most of the pollutants in stormwater runoff. A rain garden is designed to temporarily hold this first flush and naturally filter out many of the common pollutants in the stormwater, such as oil or chemicals.

Read more about rain gardens and where you can find them in the City of Victoria here


Bioswales
Bioswales are sloped channels that are designed to clean and slow down the rain and runoff coming from an area. There are a number of different types of bioswales, including grassed channels, dry swales and wet swales. They often use native plants or plants that are drought resistant and are also able to handle large amounts of water.

 

Green Roofs
A green roof is a specially designed garden that has been planted on top of a waterproof membrane on your roof. Green roofs clean and slow rainwater, while also absorbing some of the flow before it enters the stormwater system. They also provide insulation which can reduce heating costs.
Green roofs are classified into two categories:
• Extensive green roofs have a shallow soil profile of 100 mm (4") to 150 mm (6") and support mosses, grasses and sedums;
• Intensive green roofs with soil depths greater than 150 mm (6")  are able to support shrubs, trees, vegetables, etc. Increasing the depth of absorbent soil increases the retention capacity.


Education
Education about rainwater management practices is important as we look to create awareness of these sustainable practices.  

Rebates and Credits

The Rebate Program is limited to a maximum of $75,000 per year. If applications are received in excess of this amount, they will be considered in the following year. Rebates will be issued to applicants after an application is approved, construction is completed and final documentation is submitted and accepted.

Use the Rainwater Management Planner to help estimate rebates and or ongoing credits you may be eligible to receive for constructing rainwater management features on your property.

Ongoing credits will appear on your Stormwater Utility bill.

Contact

The City of Victoria Stormwater Specialist is available to help you map out the method that might be suited best to your property and to guide you through the Rainwater Rewards application process.  Please email stormwater@victoria.ca with any questions or call 250.361.0443.