A woman cleaning boots using water from a cistern


What you need to know

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How it Works Best Location Benefits

How it Works

Cisterns capture and store rainwater that flows from buildings and rooftops. The water stored in a cistern is good for washing cars, gardening, and irrigation.

Protecting Streams

Using a cistern helps protect streams and creeks from water pollution. The cistern collects rain before it reaches storm drains and streams. When this happens, you can use the water right on your property. Then, the water soaks into the ground. Soil/plants clean the water before it flows to local waterways. 

Using a Community Cistern at Inter-faith Food Shuttle

The Inter-faith Food Shuttle started using cisterns to water their gardens at the Camden Street Learning Garden in southeast Raleigh. See how the cisterns work and how they help the environment and the community.

Best Location

  • Flat, level area 
  • Cisterns vary in size - good for small or large properties 
  • Near a hose or pump that you can connect to the cistern or water system


  • Most popular and low-cost green stormwater feature 
  • A great option for gardens or businesses that use a lot of water
  • Saves money 
  • Good use of natural resources 
  • Protects the environment