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RiverSmart Homes - Rain Barrels

Notice: Due to damaged inventory, RiverSmart will not install rain barrels until Summer 2023.

Rain barrels can help prevent polluted water from getting into our rivers every time it rains. 
Rain barrels attach to a downspout and collect rainwater as it runs off your rooftop. The barrel stores water during a rainstorm so that it can be used when it’s not raining to water lawns and landscaped areas. Barrels are gravity-fed and will have less pressure than a normal hose,  it is recommended that rain barrels are safely elevated to add more pressure and make it easier to use the water. Rain barrels come in many different shapes and sizes to accommodate various roof sizes  and different spaces around a downspout.

RiverSmart Homes Rain Barrels 

RiverSmart Homes offers two types of rain barrels: the RainGrid RiverSides rain barrel and the Stormworks Hydra rain barrel. Each barrel costs $50. Specifications for each barrel type are provided below.

Rain BarrelsRainGrid RiverSides Rain Barrel 

  • 132-gallon capacity 
  • 51” height and 28” diameter (octagonal shape) 
  • 35 lbs when empty 
  • Comes with brass spigot and 30-foot soaker hose 
  • Filter sock to prevent mosquitos and debris from entering the barrel 
  • Made of recycled plastic and UV-treated to resist fading, warping, and cracks 
  • Diverter box that allows for bypassing/collecting water, depending on the season/need 
  • Built-in overflow feature to direct water away from the home once the barrel is full 

 Stormworks Hydra Rain Barrel 

  • 116-gallon capacity 
  • 54” height, 48” length, and 19” width (rectangular in shape) 
  • 58 lbs when empty 
  • Comes with brass spigot and 30-foot soaker hose 
  • Filter basket to prevent mosquitos and entering the barrel 
  • UV-treated to resist fading, warping, and cracks 
  • Manual diverter switch for bypassing/collecting water, depending on the season/need 
  • Built-in overflow feature to direct water away from the home once the barrel is full 

If you are interested in a different kind of rain barrel for your property, please check out the Rain Barrel Rebate Program

How to Get a Rain Barrel Through RiverSmart Homes 

RiverSmart Homes helps District residents get rain barrels installed on their property by offering technical and financial assistance. The steps for getting a rain barrel installed through the RiverSmart Homes program are: 

  1. Sign up for a RiverSmart Homes audit.

    - Once the application is submitted, participants are added to a waitlist. Participants will be contacted when they are at the top of the waitlist to schedule their RiverSmart Homes audit.
  2. A RiverSmart Homes Auditor will schedule a time to visit the property and conduct a site-specific assessment (or “audit”). This audit will determine if RiverSmart rain barrels are possible on the property, as well as other features offered through RiverSmart Homes. 
  3. If an auditor determines that RiverSmart rain barrels are possible on a property, participants can sign up through their auditor.  

    - The auditor will then add participants to a waitlist for rain barrel installations. When at the top of the waitlist, participants will be paired with a contractor who is trained to install rain barrels. 
    - Participants can receive a maximum of two (2) rain barrels through the RiverSmart Homes program. If you would like more barrels for your home, or if an auditor determines that RiverSmart Homes rain barrels are not possible on the property, it’s encouraged that participants take advantage of the Rain Barrel Rebate Program
  4. Once paired with a contractor, participants will coordinate a time for their rain barrel installation.
    - At the time of installation, the participant is responsible for a one-time copayment. They can make this copayment directly to their installer. Each payment covers the cost of the barrel, the delivery of the barrel, the installation, cinderblocks to elevate the barrel and a 30-foot soaker hose. 
  5. After a barrel is installed, it is the participant’s responsibility to properly maintain the rain barrel (maintenance information below). 

Rain Barrel Maintenance 

Once RiverSmart Homes installs a rain barrel on a property, the program participant is the owner of the rain barrel. Program participants are responsible for properly maintaining their rain barrels so they last as long as possible and do not break. The lifespan of a properly maintained rain barrel is upwards of 10 years. 

Basic maintenance for rain barrels includes: 

  • Cleaning the barrel’s filter out every 6-8 weeks (or after a major rainstorm) to prevent downspout clogging 
  • Draining the barrel between each rainstorm so that it is empty and can capture the most amount of water 
  • “Winterizing” the barrel during colder weather to prevent the barrel from getting cracked. This can be done by draining the barrel, leaving the spigot open, and putting it on “bypass” mode 

- To replace any RainGrid RiverSides parts, please visit:

- To replace any Stormworks Hydra parts, please email: [email protected]

Please watch the video series below to learn more on how to properly maintain a rain barrel!

You can find more information on how to maintain RiverSmart rain barrels by looking at our Rain Barrel Maintenance Sheet or by going to

If you have any questions or comments about RiverSmart Homes rain barrels, please contact Arielle Conti, [email protected],  (202) 420-0645.

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