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Stormwater Solutions: Rain Barrels

How can you help protect your local stream and the Chesapeake Bay
AND save on your water bill?
Install a Rain Barrel!

We installed this 55-gallon rain barrel in 2016. Photo by Dan Kulpinski for Friends of Cabin John Creek.

You can play a key role in preventing creek erosion and flooding
while conserving water and harvesting rain to keep your yard and garden green. 

Rain barrels can reduce erosion by temporarily retaining rainwater and releasing it slowly over time.  Preventing erosion helps keep the Creek, the Potomac River, and the Chesapeake Bay healthier.  Rain barrels have the added benefit of directing water away from foundations and collecting rainwater for garden irrigation.

The U.S. EPA estimates that lawn and garden watering make up nearly 40% of total household water use during the summer.  A rain barrel can collect water and store it for when you need it.  It provides an ample supply of free "soft water" to homeowners, containing no chlorine, lime, or calcium, making it ideal for gardens flower pots or car and window washing. (However, do NOT use it for drinking!)


A rain barrel will save most Mid-Atlantic homeowners about 1,300 gallons of water during the peak summer months.  Saving water not only helps protect the environment, it saves you money and energy through decreased demand for treated tap water.  Diverting water from storm drains also decreases the impact of runoff to streams.  A rain barrel is an easy way for you to have a consistent supply of clean, fresh water for outdoor use, FREE.


Learn More: Water Harvesting – Rain Barrels and Cisterns (Montgomery County DEP)



In 2017, FoCJC will be working with the Inverness townhouse community to promote rain barrel installation, since barrels are often the only stormwater management technique appropriate for small lots.  One aspect of this program will be the development of rain barrel designs that can be pre-approved to meet HOA architectural standards.

In 2015 and 2016, FoCJC ran a Rain Barrel Program in partnership with local Boy Scouts to provide and install rain barrels for interested homeowners . We installed 51 rain barrels in the Cabin John watershed, which drained a combined roof area of more than 0.42 acres, and treated a total of 2,805 gallons of water. The cost of the barrels was largely subsidized by a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust. This program has ended and we no longer install barrels.


Want a barrel?

Consult the county's list of local rain barrel sources (PDF) or the City of Rockville's list of companies selling rain barrels (PDF). Friends of Cabin John Creek is not taking new orders for rain barrels.

Did we install a barrel for you?

During 2015 and 2016, we installed 51 rain barrels in the Cabin John Creek Watershed, through our Stormwater Solutions program, thanks to the grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust.  All customers signed this Maintenance Agreement (PDF).

​Questions? Email us at

Funding for this Watershed Restoration and Outreach grant project was provided by the Montgomery County, MD, Water Quality Protection Charge and managed by the Chesapeake Bay Trust.

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