Portland, OR is located in the Pacific Northwest where rainfall is more than average compared to the rest of the United States. Due to the weather, stormwater management becomes critical to prevent flooding and maintain the overall health of the City’s watershed. Clean River Rewards’, Portland’s stormwater utility discount program, purpose is to reduce stormwater volume and flow rate while reducing pollution and sediments that collect in stormwater.


With Clean River Rewards, Portland ratepayers can save money while promoting clean rivers and healthy watersheds. If a water ratepayer manages stormwater on their property, they can receive up to a 100% discount on their on-site stormwater management charges. The water ratepayer can employ a variety of stormwater management techniques to reduce their on-site stormwater management service charge, which accounts for 35% of total stormwater charges.

Single-family homeowners are encouraged to register online with the expectation that potential on-site inspections will demonstrate compliance. For single-family residences, any of the discounts below can be combined for a maximum 100% discount for on-site stormwater charges (currently $7.83 per month).

  • 100% discount applied when all roof drainage is fully retained on-site, such as drywells, French drains, soakage trenches, cisterns, rain barrels, or ecoroofs;
  • 67% discount applied when roof discharges are detained or partially retained, such as holding facility, stormwater planter or pond that slowly releases water from the property;
  • 25% discount applied when total impervious surfaces are <1000 sq. ft., and;
  • 8% discount when 4 or more trees (taller than 15 ft.) are present.

Commercial, industrial and multifamily properties are required to calculate their discount in coordination with the City. Commercial, multi-family, and industrial ratepayer discounts are based on the extent and effectiveness of on-site systems to control pollution, flow rate and disposal of stormwater runoff from all developed areas. These three components are weighed equally.

A maximum 100% discount, which currently totals $2.45/1000 sq. ft. per month, is awarded when the size of stormwater facilities are properly proportional to the total developed area, as defined by the Bureau of Environmental Services.

As of FY 10-11, 34,145 single-family residences registered for the program and on average received a 93% discount on their water bill. While the commercial, multifamily and industrial program had 1,999 registered ratepayers that received a 65% discount on average.

The program, to date, has been successful. There has been a 2,804-acre reduction in stormwater managed by the City. The City now processes 853 million fewer gallons of stormwater.


Case Study Resources

Clean River Rewards – website

Downloaded from ResilientWest.org
a project of
Resilient Communities and Watersheds


  • Challenges:
  • wateraccess
  • flooding
  • Land Use:
  • commercial, singlefamily
  • State:
  • oregon
  • Scale:
  • site
  • Type:
  • urban, suburban