Rain Barrel Grant Program

Accepting applications for the Fall 2023 distribution!

Harvesting rainwater will save you money and help the environment at the same time. You can collect a substantial amount of rainwater with a simple system, and this water can help save you money on your water bill.

Rainwater can be collected from the roofs of houses or sheds, and it picks up very little contamination when it falls, assuming you keep your roof clean of debris and potential contaminants. Rain barrels help the health of our local creeks by capturing water that would otherwise wash into our streets and storm drains, carrying pollutants it picks up along the way.

One of the best reasons to start harvesting rainwater with rain barrels is that if you teach and encourage others to do the same, you will help to spread the word about rainwater collection and, in turn, help the larger community and the environment. It is always important to remember that every living thing on the planet needs water to survive, so we should do our part to help keep it clean and plentiful!

Stormwater Benefits

  • Rooftops, roads, parking lots, driveways, and even compacted soils are impervious surfaces. Rain barrels reduce runoff by collecting and storing rainwater from your roof.
  • In a pristine area, even an additional 10% of impervious surface alters the natural rainfall-runoff pattern and damages sensitive ecosystems.
  • Infiltration, allowing the water to soak into nearby soils, will recharge groundwater supplies using a more natural water cycle path.

Water Conservation Benefits 

  • Water usage increases in the summer by 30%. This is due to increased outdoor water use such as lawn watering, flower, and vegetable garden watering, car washing, and pavement cleaning.
  • Your water supply is unique to your location. Most rely upon rainfall to fill surface water reservoirs and underground aquifers, also known as groundwater.
  • By reducing the demand for established water supplies during dry summer months, you are helping the environment.
  • Rain barrels conserve water and lower costs (can save approximately 1,300 gallons of water during peak summer months).
  • Rain barrels reduce water pollutions by preventing stormwater runoff which can contain pollutants like sediment, oil, grease, bacteria, and nutrients. Rainwater contains no chlorine, lime, or calcium.
  • Rainwater is an excellent source of “soft water” for homeowners.

Rain Barrel Winterizing Tips

  • Disconnect the rain barrel from the gutter downspout.
  • Connect a temporary downspout extension to the gutter that feeds that rain barrel. Position this so that it is directing rainwater away from the house.
  • Use up or drain the rain barrel, so there is no water left inside. Water left in for the winter may freeze and crack the barrel itself.
  • Open the barrel’s spigot and leave it open for the period of no use; this will avoid freeze damage to the hardware of the barrel.
  • Rinse the interior of the barrel. Now is a good time to clean the barrel of sediment buildup that occurs in many rain barrels during the course of the rainy season.
  • Suppose you have storage move the rain barrel to an indoor storage area to really extend the life of your rain barrel. If you do not have storage or prefer to leave your rain barrel outside, then be sure to turn the barrel upside down.
  •  Cover your rain barrel with a tarp for additional protection.

Stormwater Grant Request Application

The City of Newark is partnering with New Castle County on its Clean Stream Champion program. Visit cleanstreamchampion.org to learn how even small actions taken by homeowners can have a huge impact on our waters and natural environment.

City of Newark residents may apply for one (1) free rain barrel while supplies last. If you pay into the City’s stormwater utility (see your utility bill), have City of Newark trash and electric service, your tax parcel number begins with 180, and you have not previously applied for one, you may qualify for this program.

If you're interested in harvesting your own rainwater, fill out the Stormwater Grant Request Application and email your completed applications to Environmental Coordinator Kelley Dinsmore at kdinsmore@newark.de.us.