The Oakland Rain Barrel Program The Oakland Rain Barrel Program was a three year initiative (2010 - 2012) that provided subsidized rain barrels to Oakland residents, schools, churches and nonprofits. The initiative provided educational workshops, green job training for youth and interns and, cistern demonstration projects to public entities including Chabot Space and Science Center, Skyline High School and Merritt College. The City of Oakland and its partners established roughly 400,000 gallons of rainwater harvesting systems for city residents through the program; funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the State Water Resources Control Board. Below is more general information on rainwater harvesting and installation of rain water catchment device(s).

Factors to consider when choosing your rainwater catchment system:

  • Before you install – Plan your system so it does not cause erosion or allow water to concentrate near structures or another person’s property. For design assistance, contact a professional such as a landscape contractor, architect or engineer. See Information & Resources below, for a list of local rainwater resources & professionals.
  • Soils – A variety of factors including slopes, soil types, high groundwater & stability may limit or prevent the use of certain capture systems. Soils range from having a high sand content to a high clay content, & therefore filter water at different rates. Consult with a professional to determine your soil type & the rainwater systems appropriate for your property.
  • Mosquitoes – When implemented correctly, rainwater catchment systems do not allow mosquitoes to breed. Ensure that water infiltrates into the ground within five days or stored water is sealed & screened to prevent mosquito access. For more information, contact the Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District.