RainReady, an initiative of the Chicago-based nonprofit Center for Neighborhood Technology, helps communities manage urban flooding in a time of climate change. Urban flooding occurs when rain overwhelms urban drainage systems, causing flooding in buildings and streets. Urban flooding occurs outside of the mapped floodplain, and is distinct from coastal and riverine flooding. RainReady offers flood mitigation and adaptation solutions for individual properties and communities, through community plans, resident education, site assessments, implementation assistance, and linkages to available financing.
RainReady programs are designed to help communities:
- Reduce incidents of sewer backups, basement seepage, and ponding;
- Reduce infiltration and inflow related to damaged sewer lines;
- Upgrade stormwater infrastructure to incorporate green infrastructure;
- Meet water quality standards and consent decrees; and
- Attract local, state and federal funding for flood mitigation.
RainReady's community program uses a participatory planning approach to foster collaboration between city staff and residents work. Steering committees are formed for each community, staffed by representatives from government, community, and technical organizations. Steering committees guide plan recommendations, support the plan adoption process, and lead plan implementation and monitoring activities. Residents participate in flood risk mapping and design charrettes. The community flood risk assessment process includes analysis of resident surveys, emergency services data, sewer system maps, watershed topography, historical records, precipitation data and any existing plans. Plan recommendations target cost-effective flood mitigation solutions that also support local priorities such as economic development, beautification, and active transportation.
The RainReady Home program partners with local governments to deliver residential assistance programs that mitigate flooding at individual homes. RainReady Home designs and administers residential building retrofit and green infrastructure programs. Program services include site assessments and recommendations, green infrastructure design, construction management services, grant administration, and post-construction monitoring. Retrofit recommendations may include green infrastructure, paving, plumbing, masonry, and/or gutter system improvements.
Supporters, clients, funders and partners of RainReady include: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Illinois Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), other government agencies, and several charitable foundations.
RainReady provides additional resources for residents who are not located in a participating community.
- RainReady Socials are educational events that teach homeowners and their neighbors about their options for managing stormwater. RainReady staff visit a home to demonstrate a home assessment and discuss flood mitigation solutions. The homeowner who hosts a Social receives a free consultation with a RainReady Home assessor.
My RainReady is an online self-assessment tool to evaluate flooding risks and find solutions for small residential buildings. After answering a series of guided questions, My RainReady provides customized recommendations for the home.
- A RainReady Nation: Protecting American Homes and Businesses in a Changing Climate
- RainReady Midlothian Plan (Chicago suburb flood management plan)
- The Prevalence and Cost of Urban Flooding
- Case Study: RainReady’s Oak Park Village (Illinois) Pilot Program
- My RainReady
- The RainReady Approach: Linking Municipalities and Residents to Manage Urban Flooding with Distributed Green and Grey Infrastructure
- RainReady Calumet Corridor, IL Plan
- RainReady’s Residential Flood Assistance Program Case Study - Chicago, Illinois