Cistern IconA cistern is a large storage tank (typically made of reinforced concrete, galvanized steel, or plastic) that collects and stores rainwater from your rooftop.  Cisterns are similar to rain barrels, but are generally larger with capacities ranging from 100 gallons to several thousand gallons.  They can be used to collect water from several downspouts at a time, or from multiple roofs. Cisterns provide many benefits, some of which are listed below.

  • They reduce stormwater runoff from your property, which helps protect the environment and improve water quality downstream.
  • They may reduce your water bill by reducing the need for drinking water for exterior uses.
  • The stored water has many uses such as washing your car or irrigating your garden.
  • The stored water can be used at any time, even during drought conditions or other city- or county-imposed water restrictions.

For further information on cisterns, please refer to the fact sheet (PDF). For guidelines on how to install a cistern on your property, click here (PDF).