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<< Back to: Member News: ICLEI e-News | issue 8, June - July 2007

Annapolis improving water quality through rain gardens

August 15, 2007

Residents in Annapolis (U.S.A.) are encouraged to build rain gardens in their backyards to improve water quality.

Rain gardens are gardens that soak up rainwater and allow the water to slowly filter into the ground, preventing pollutants from finding their way into streams and waterways.

Also, by reducing the amount of water that enters local storm water drain systems, rain gardens can both reduce local flooding and mitigate shoreline damage where storm drains empty into the Bay’s watershed.

Three locations recommended to build rain gardens in back yards are in a depression where rainwater collects naturally, where rainwater collects from a swale or overland trough carrying water, or where rainwater collects from a downspout.

The steps outlined to build rain gardens are as follows:

  1. Determine the size needed, knowing that to be effective, rain gardens should be 25 percent of the size of the impervious area surrounding it.  Lay out the boundaries of the garden with rope or string.
  2. Dig the rain garden 10 to 13 centimetres (four to five inches) below the yard level.
  3. Plant native plants in the rain garden; these plants should be resistant to drought but able to survive standing in water for up to 24 hours at a time. 

The Rain Gardens initiative is a project of the city of Annapolis’s Department of Public Works.  For more information, please contact them at +1-410/794-4950.

ICLEI has an international freshwater Water Campaign that aims to build the capacity of local governments to reduce water consumption and improve local water quality. For more information on ICLEI’s Water Campaign, please visit www.iclei.org/water.

Annapolis is one of 201 local governments in the U.S.A. that are currently Members of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability.  For more information on ICLEI and its activities in the U.S.A., please visit www.iclei.org/usa.

Source:  “Rain Gardens: A simple way to improve our water quality”, brochure of Stormwater Management at the Department of Public Works, City of Annapolis.