Rainwater Assortment Legal guidelines (Legalities defined)

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“Is it authorized to gather rainwater?”

It’s possible you’ll know a good bit about rainwater assortment, however are you accustomed to the legalities surrounding its harvesting?

It may be very irritating and time-consuming to look by the legal guidelines and laws of every state. That is very true while you’re looking for rainwater laws which can be so particular.

Fortunately, we’ve rolled our sleeves up and achieved the soiled work so that you simply don’t need to!

This text simplifies the legal guidelines and laws and provides sources referring to rainwater assortment programs.


We put plenty of work into designing, researching, writing, enhancing, and reviewing these articles. Please think about supporting us by making a purchase order from one of many affiliate hyperlinks included on this put up.

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Is It Unlawful To Accumulate Rainwater?

Sure, you possibly can legally gather rainwater; no federal legal guidelines prohibit rainwater assortment. The Federal Vitality Administration Program and the Nationwide Agricultural Legislation Heart make clear this.

Nevertheless, every state has its personal rainwater harvesting laws.

Some states restrict the quantity of water you possibly can gather, whereas others supply incentives. That mentioned, none of them prohibits the gathering of rainwater.

The next map signifies the extent of guidelines and laws in place per state:

This map above shows the different levels of rules in the U.S — is it legal to collect rainwater?
(This map above exhibits the completely different ranges of guidelines within the U.S.)
Rules Quantity
No Rules 1
Restricted Rules 2
State Rules 3
State Rules & Incentives 4
The desk acts as a key for the above map.

What Are The Legal guidelines Governing Rainwater Assortment?

Most legal guidelines stipulate how a lot rainwater you possibly can gather and who can handle it. Moreover, some states spotlight for those who’re allowed to drink the rainwater or not.

We’ve damaged down the completely different legal guidelines and laws into 4 ranges to make issues simpler.

  • No Rules: after looking by governmental websites, we’ve not discovered any info referring to rainwater assortment.
  • Restricted Rules: on this class it’s authorized to gather rainwater however the laws are restricted. This simply implies that there are few guidelines you’ll want to observe.
  • State Rules: there are some laws that the state has put in place. We’ve outlined these laws for you.
  • State Rules & Incentives: not solely are there laws set out, however the state additionally presents incentives.

No Rules

This image displays all level 1 states. There are no regulations for rainwater collection in these states — is it legal to collect rainwater?
This picture shows all degree 1 states. There aren’t any laws for rainwater assortment in these states.

We couldn’t discover any legal guidelines or laws for the next states. Nevertheless, accumulating rainwater continues to be authorized; it’s simply not regulated.

The desk gives sources for every state.

Restricted Rules

Each Nevada and Colorado have restricted laws on rainwater assortment.


Residents in Nevada can gather rainwater from their houses, however just for non-potable home use. They’ll additionally use water as a guzzler for wildlife.

To search out out extra about these laws, you possibly can consult with NRS 533.027 – Applicability of chapter to de minimus assortment of precipitation.


Colorado solely permits houses with 4 individuals or much less to gather rainwater.

The tanks can solely comprise a most of110 gallons, and the water can solely be used for irrigation.

Nevertheless, in case your property has a nicely, you’re allowed to gather as a lot rainwater as you want. The one catch is that the rainwater can solely be collected off your roof and used to recharge the nicely.

Thus, you’re allowed to make use of the rainwater for indoor and outside use by your nicely system. Consult with legislation HB16-1005.

State Rules

The above states have clear rainwater collection regulations.
These states have clear rainwater assortment laws.

The next states have clear laws on rainwater assortment:

  • Oregon: the gathering of rainwater is regulated by the Oregon Plumbing Speciality Code. In response to chapter 16, it’s authorized to gather rainwater on your house so long as the system is positioned outdoors. Pay cautious consideration as to whether you want a allow or not.
  • Arkansas: the state permits the gathering of rainwater so long as it meets three necessities; the system must be designed by an expert, have the right safeguards and cling to the plumbing code. Consult with the AR Code § 17-38-201 (2017), half G for extra info.
  • Illinois: in 2012 the state of Illinois amended the plumbing license Legislation to incorporate rainwater harvesting. You possibly can consult with this invoice standing for a synopsis of the modification.
  • Ohio: the laws are put in place by the Division of Well being and the EPA. Rules embody the quantity of water you possibly can gather and the supplies you should use. You possibly can consult with Ohio’s EPA homepage and the EPA.

State Rules And Incentives

These states have laws but also offer incentives — is it legal to collect rainwater?
These states have legal guidelines but in addition supply incentives.

The next states have laws and potential incentives for accumulating rainwater:


Rainwater harvesting is inspired and controlled by the Division of Water Assets.

Home Invoice 2830 lays out the laws for the usage of rainwater in residential settings. Nevertheless, it refers to rainwater use in landscapes — we couldn’t discover any guidelines for indoor use.

Arizona doesn’t supply state-wide incentives. Nevertheless, county and metropolis incentives can be found.

Consult with this handbook for extra info on rainwater harvesting for panorama use.


Rainwater assortment is authorized in California; it’s regulated by the Division of Water Rights.

There are guidelines that your system wants to stick to:

  • You don’t want a water allow so long as your system is put in by a professional landscaper — that is solely relevant for outside water utilization.
  • It’s possible you’ll want a water rights allow to make use of rainwater indoors in addition to different professionals.

Listed here are the laws: Rainwater Seize Act of 2012 [10570 – 10574]

There aren’t any state-wide incentives, however some native county incentives are in place. For instance, Santa Monica presents a rebate of $2,000 for 2 cisterns larger than 500 gallons. As well as, San Diego gives a rain barrel rebate of 50c per gallon.


The Division of Pure Assets intently screens rainwater utilization in Georgia.

You need to all the time test along with your county on any legal guidelines and laws concerning rainwater assortment. You’ll additionally need to test for those who want a allow or not.

You could find all of the laws in Georgia’s plumbing code.

  • The code states you could solely use rainwater for outside use.
  • If you happen to’d like a sophisticated system, you’d have to put in the weather outlined within the code.

Taxpayers can obtain as much as 25% again on tax when buying and putting in a rainwater assortment system. To acquire the credit score, it is best to contact the Division of Pure Assets.


The state of Minnesota has laid out a number of laws for the usage of rainwater and system upkeep. You could find these laws in Chapter 4714 of the Plumbing Code.

In abstract, the laws are:

  • Designs for rainwater programs have to be permitted by a professional certified Minnesota engineer.
  • Rainwater programs have to be for non-potable water makes use of corresponding to bathroom cisterns, gardening or washing machines.
  • Rainwater programs have to be maintained and checked in response to this desk.

Nevertheless, it’s unclear whether or not you want a allow or not for rainwater programs.

Consult with this information for extra info.

North Carolina

Rainwater assortment is allowed by the plumbing code of North Carolina and controlled by the Division of Setting and Pure Assets.

A few of the laws embody:

  • Rainwater can solely be used for non-potable makes use of.
  • All rainwater provide pipes needs to be purple.
  • Rainwater cisterns have to be market with indicators stating that the water is non-potable.

For extra info, you possibly can consult with this information for N.C. householders.

New Mexico

New Mexico encourages the preservation of water in addition to rain assortment programs. The Workplace of the State Engineer (O.S.E.) regulates these legal guidelines.

The next guidelines apply:

  • It’s possible you’ll gather rainwater so long as it’s used on website.
  • The rainwater can’t be used for any functions aside from outside use or home indoor use.
  • The system can not affect the quantity of stormwater runoff from the positioning.

Examine along with your native O.S.E. to search out out for those who want a allow and native incentives.

You could find the O.S.E.’s coverage right here.


Texas is without doubt one of the most receptive states to rainwater assortment. Not solely is it authorized and no allow is required, however there are tons of incentives.

  • Properties with permitted rainwater programs will be exempted of half or all of their county property tax. (Texas Tax Code §11.32)
  • There isn’t a tax on rain assortment associated merchandise corresponding to rain barrels. (Texas Tax Code 151.355)
  • House owner Associations are prevented from banning rainwater assortment programs. (Texas Property Code 202.007)


The Water Rights Division lays out the laws for Utah. Listed here are the next laws which can be at present in impact:

  • The rainwater collected needs to be used on the identical land it was collected on.
  • You’re restricted to 2,500 gallons of storage quantity.

Keep in mind: you could have to register your rainwater harvesting system. For instance, in case your system has two containers or one container larger than 100 gallons, you’ll need to register it. Fortunately, registration is free.


State laws units the principles and laws in Virginia’s plumbing code. You could find the laws in part 1303.

Rules embody:

  • Rainwater can solely be used for outside and non-potable makes use of. That is to scale back the demand on recent water.
  • You possibly can solely gather rainwater out of your roof.
  • The primary 4″ of rainfall must be diverted utilizing a first-flush diverter.

District of Columbia

The rainwater laws are underneath stormwater within the District of Columbia plumbing code.

A few of the laws embody:

  • Rainwater assortment programs for potable use want to make use of an permitted air hole becoming.
  • Storage tanks require relavent markings corresponding to ‘non-potable water‘.
  • You must gather potable rainwater out of your roof and water for outside use from any floor. You must preserve the 2 seperated.


Rainwater assortment is allowed in Washington; nevertheless, there are some situations.

You don’t want a allow to gather rainwater so long as it:

  • The rainwater have to be collected on the property that it’s collected on.
  • That the system is connected to a constructing that has one other function aside from to gather rainwater.

If you happen to plan on utilizing rainwater as ingesting water, you’ll have to test in case your county permits it.

You could find extra sources right here and right here.

Closing Ideas

In abstract, it’s authorized to gather rainwater in the usA. Nevertheless, quite a few laws dictate the way you gather and use this water.

As well as, every state has its personal guidelines, which you’ll usually discover connected to their respective plumbing code. Sure states even supply tax again or rebates as incentives, saving you much more cash.

If you happen to’re ever not sure concerning the guidelines and laws in your space, it’s finest to test along with your county.

We hope you discovered this text informative; please be at liberty to ask any questions within the feedback part under!


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