Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

A Source of Hope for Our Waterways

Rain Check Buffalo

From the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo's 2015 Annual Report

Owen Gracie uses water collected from his family's Rain Check rain barrel to water flowers outside their Buffalo home

“We always talk about saving and conserving water inside the house,” said Suzanne Gracie, as she watched her young children fill watering cans from a rain barrel outside their Buffalo home. “Now we are teaching them the same outside the house.”

The Gracie family is just one of the thousands of homeowners that applied to participate in the Rain Check Buffalo downspout disconnect and rain barrel program that launched in 2015.

The program was made possible through a coordinated partnership with the Buffalo Sewer Authority and the Community Foundation, which attracted a matching grant from a national foundation–The Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities. This grant, along with the Community Foundation’s match, funded Rain Check Buffalo, a citywide effort to manage rainwater to protect water quality and quantity. Through the program, city residents were able to sign up to have their downspouts disconnected and/or get a rain barrel installed on their property.

It is a small step residents can take to remove pressure from the city’s sewer system, originally built in the late 1930s. Currently, when the system is overwhelmed by stormwater or melting snow, it pushes raw sewage directly into our creeks, streams and lakes. Disconnecting a home’s downspouts helps to keep stormwater out of the sewage system, which decreases the chances of an overflow.

The Gracie family’s rain barrel was installed over the summer and provides a great teaching tool for the children to see how water can be collected and reused.

The Community Foundation and the City of Buffalo, in partnership with Riverkeeper and People United for Sustainable Housing Buffalo, launched Rain Check Buffalo, a water quality effort and community engagement initiative.

Read more stories about our community impact work.

To learn more about our Community Impact Work, please contact us by calling (716) 852-2857, ext. 223.

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Protecting Our Valuable Natural Resources

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