Ten Actions for Cities + Towns

If you and your neighbors suffer from flooding, water shortage, or polluted rivers and streams, your community needs a RainReady Plan.

Preparing a RainReady plan can help your community summarize local problems, identify key actors, and pinpoint helpful actions.

If your local officials or city councils aren't yet ready for a comprehensive plan, focus on a few individual actions. Early, small-scale successes for the community will encourage an examination of broader solutions.

A summary of the information on this page is available in a factsheet here (PDF). Need help? Contact us to get help.

10 actions cities can consider:

  1. Complete a community needs assessment, which clarifies the scale and nature of a community's water problem and ensures the most effective plan possible.
  2. Help residents, businesses, and other owners make property improvements. Improvements in landscaping, plumbing, irrigation, and building maintenance can reduce public expenditures on large-scale pipes, tunnels, and storage facilities.
  3. Improve public rights-of-way through systematic, cost-effective water-management strategies on streets and parkways.
  4. Audit water loss and incentivize water reuse. Careful auditing can help control water-loss and reduce municipal investment in repairs, while water reuse is sustainable and effienent for ratepayers.
  5. Introduce dedicated budgets. Communities should establish revenue streams that fund RainReady improvements in a fair and efficient manner.
  6. Use financial or developer incentives to encourage RainReady practices. Communities can employ a combination of techniques, including tax credits, fee reductions, and expedited permitting.
  7. Establish outreach and partnership programs across the private, public, academic, and non-profit sectors to ensure a comprehensive and well-informed decision-making process.
  8. Introduce regulations and update codes to reduce the long-term costs and risks of flooding and drought, since prevention is usually less expensive and less disruptive for a community than recovery.
  9. Tap into federal and state financial support. There are several long-term programs designed to help communities improve their water management at a reasonable cost.
  10. Introduce shared services and regional coordination for water management. Since water does not abide by municipal boundaries, communities must collaborate to manage their water systems in the most responsible and cost-effective ways possible.

By mapping their flooding, water supply, and water quality problems carefully, neighborhoods and cities can identify common problems and begin to find solutions for improved water management. Combined with input from residents and water planning professionals, these maps can underpin a RainReady plan of action that is ready for community adoption.

Individuals have a strong role to play. By talking with neighbors and elected officials about water-related damage to properties, lost business, polluted beaches, and shrinking reservoirs, they can prompt governments to take action or contribute resources to the community.