Stormwater management program reimburses residents for protecting water

Water is a valuable natural resource, and everyone can play a role in protecting it. Johnson County’s Stormwater Management Program supports stormwater management in cities so their residents can participate.

Through the program, Johnson County partners with the 20 cities in the county to provide stormwater management services, including supporting flood risk reduction and water quality protection projects. It is funded by a 1/10th of 1% countywide sales tax dedicated to stormwater management.

The program is focused on improving water quality in lakes and streams, protecting the local ecosystem and reducing the cost to treat water for residents to drink. One program in which residents can participate directly is Contain the Rain, which helps reduce the amount of stormwater than runs off from residential properties into our waterways.

Funding available to help you ‘contain the rain’

Contain the Rain statistics on types of projects funded in 2021

The Contain the Rain program, launched in 2011, provides funding to cities to offer stormwater rebate programs to their residents. Cities reimburse residents up to 50% of the cost for projects like rain barrels and rain gardens. It’s a Johnson County Government program, managed by cities with promotional support by an environmental nonprofit, Bridging the Gap of Kansas City.

Each of us lives in a watershed, meaning our land drains into a body of water such as a lake or stream. During rainstorms, too much stormwater runoff can collect pollutants, such as fertilizers, pesticides, household hazardous wastes and trash, can carry it into lakes and streams.

“Contain the Rain projects allow residents to help protect our water quality, while also retaining water for their lawns and gardens,” said Water Quality Specialist Ian Fannin-Hughes. “We hope that local rebate programs will incentivize more residents to get involved in combating stormwater runoff.”

The 2022 Contain the Rain program will wrap up on November 1 and will reopen in spring 2023, giving you time to plan before you apply. For more information, visit

Tips to protect water quality

Blue rain barrels hooked up to a gutter alongside a green house

Johnson County’s Stormwater Management Program encourages additional ways to help protect water quality. August was Water Quality Awareness Month, in which the county educated residents on steps they can take to prevent pollution and protect our community’s most vital resource.

Keep these tips in mind as you manage your lawn this fall, which can help protect water quality and, in some cases, reduce street flooding.

  • Don’t rake leaves into storm drains or onto the street. Leaves that end up in storm drains can clog pipes, causing street flooding and pollution in waterways.
  • Pick up and dispose of pet waste. Leaving pet waste in the grass sends unsafe bacteria into storm drains when it rains.
  • Pick up trash. Trash on the ground results can end up in streams and rivers, harming aquatic life and degrading the beauty of our natural resources.

Fertilizer runoff is a cause of toxic algae in local lakes, so Fannin-Hughes also urges residents to be careful with how much fertilizer they put down. A soil test can determine your lawn’s fertilizer needs, and one test per year is free for Johnson County residents. Learn more at

“There are simple steps residents can take to do their part in protecting our water quality. Be aware that anything that’s in the ground may eventually end up in lakes and streams, so reducing the chemicals in your yard also reduces the material that runs off into our water,” Fannin-Hughes said.

Learn more about Johnson County’s Stormwater Management Program and how you can help protect water quality at