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Get Rain Ready SF!

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In San Francisco, we have a combined system that collects both stormwater and sewage in the same set of pipes. When the system reaches capacity in heavy rains, we can experience street flooding (especially in low-lying areas that used to be creeks or bays) and property damage. No sewer system, including San Francisco's, can be designed to manage all stormwater in ALL storms.

How City Crews Get Rain Ready

workman clearing out sewer manhole

Year-round, SFPUC preventative operations and maintenance crews work hard to prepare for the rainy season by inspecting, cleaning, repairing, and replacing aging sewer infrastructure. For example, last summer crews deep cleaned more than 2,600 of our 25,000 catch basins throughout the City, including all of those in low-lying neighborhoods that are prone to flooding in large rain storms. Throughout the rainy season, our Storm Watch team is dedicated to monitoring the weather closely. They specially monitor low-lying neighborhoods on a regular basis (even in the middle of the night and on weekends), and more frequently during storms. Crews are ready to respond by clearing away dirt and leaves off the top of the catch basins and vacuuming out debris using giant (vac-con) trucks.

Adopt A Drain SF

Help Us Keep San Francisco's 25,000 Storm Drains Clean

Clean storm drains help avoid flooding and clear the way for water to enter our sewer system. Adopt a drain near you and help keep our storm drains ready for rain!

Expecting a Rainstorm? Plan, Prepare and Protect!

Download and print the Storm Preparation Brochure to learn what you can do to prepare. Español Chinese

Grant Assistance for Floodwater Management
The Grant Assistance Program for Floodwater Management is designed to encourage San Francisco property owners to implement projects that will minimize floodwater intrusion on their properties. In addition to flood barriers and backflow preventers, we have expanded the types of eligible projects to include flood walls and "special projects" (doorway adjustments / modifications, doorway waterproofing, grade adjustments, plumbing/drainage modifications, or projects of a similar nature/scale.) Learn More and Apply.

National Flood Insurance Program
Homeowners, business owners and tenants can buy affordable flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program, administered by FEMA, to cover for flood damage to buildings and building contents. Everyone in San Francisco is in "Zone X" and qualifies for low cost premiums. 

See fact sheet for residents hereespañol Chinese

See fact sheet for insurance professionals here or download a FEMA presentation on the Flood Insurance program. 

For additional questions, please contact us at

Sign Up for Weather Alerts

One of the most trusted weather alert services is provided by The National Weather Service (NWS) at NWS is a component of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). You can bookmark the page once you enter your zip code, with an option to view a tabular forecast. Although the NWS does not send alerts, you can check the website for special weather alerts and warnings. For a listing of alternative sources of weather alerts, whether on your phone or via email, please visit

Free Sandbags

Sandbags can play an important role in protecting your home or business from heavy winter rains and possible flooding. Don’t wait until it’s raining or flooding to get them; plan ahead!

SF Public Works will provide San Francisco residents and business up to 10 free sandbags leading up to and during severe rainstorms. They are intended for properties prone to flooding. Sandbags can be retrieved Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Public Works’ operations yard, Marin Street/Kansas Street gate. Bring proof of address. Sandbags also are sold at many local hardware and home improvement stores. Learn more...

 Proper Placement of Sandbags

  Proper Placement of Sandbags

Important Tips:
  • Keep nearby catch basins clear of leaves and debris. Sweep away leaves and debris away from catch basins. You can put the leaves in a compost bin, and anything else in a trash bin. Never attempt to remove catch basin grates.
  • Please report sewer emergencies or service problems such as clogged catch basins, street flooding, sewer backups, or wastewater odors to the City’s 311 Customer Service Center. Call 311, log on at, or use the free mobile app.
  • Be aware of low elevation spots that could flood. Elevate your belongings in your garage and any low-lying areas on your property. Remember to store emergency items, such as first aid kits, flashlights and portable radios in a safe, high place as well.
  • Store drinking water in closed, clean containers in case water service is interrupted. Allow one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days.
  • Prepare written instructions on how to turn off electricity, gas and water if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you'll need a professional to turn them back on.)


What to do During the Storm

  • If water has entered a garage or basement, do not walk through it.
  • If you are asked to leave your property, disconnect all electrical appliances.
  • Tune-in to KCBS (740 AM or 106.9 FM) or local TV channels for emergency advisories and instructions.
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates.
  • Avoid downed power lines and broken gas lines.

flooded basementAfter the Storm

  • DO NOT TURN GAS BACK ON YOURSELF. Call PG&E (800) 743-5000.
  • Avoid direct contact with floodwater. Wear protective clothing, including heavy gloves, to remove wet materials that may be contaminated.
  • Do no use fresh foods or canned goods that have come in contact with flood waters.
  • Flooded buildings should be pumped out, disinfected and dried as quickly as possible to prevent mold.
  • Do not handle live electrical equipment in wet areas. Have them checked before use.

72hours logoSF72

SF72 is your hub for emergency preparedness. You’ll find information about what to do in an emergency, simple steps to get connected and useful guides to help you get prepared.

Flood Resilience Study

This study characterizes the economic impacts of flooding and identifies and evaluates flood resilience–driven capital projects and programmatic measures as options for reducing those impacts. The findings of the Flood Resilience Study have been presented to the SFPUC Commission on May 24, 2016 as part of a flooding workshop that will guide policy discussions around infrastructure needs and associated costs for stormwater management, and ultimately help the SFPUC plan and prioritize projects.

Here's the Executive Summary and a draft of the full Flood Resilience Report.



Questions on how you can get RainReady or having rain-related issues?
Contact us at

For Assistance in Chinese Call 415-554-3289

Si necesita asistencia en español llame 1-415-554-3289



Last updated: 12/9/2016 10:55:40 AM