Is it illegal to collect rainwater in your state?
The map below shows the seven states with restricted legality on rainwater harvesting and the rest that have fully legalized systems without filing for a water rights permit. Is your state one of them?
Rainwater harvesting and rainwater collection are considered private property right in Alabama. There aren’t any current rebates or tax incentives for the state but there are several mentions as well as workshops on rainwater on the state website as well as the State college websites. From the Alabama Cooperative Extension System: Rainwater Harvesting in Alabama Pioneer Water Tanks exceed all requirements for water storage applications for the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. Get a quote today to start safely storing water.
Rainwater Harvesting isn’t illegal in Alaska and is used as a primary source of water for many inhabitants. Groundwater harvesting is heavily regulated but can be purchased as a water right with the State of Alaska. Learn more about rainwater harvesting in Alaska: The Cold Climate Research Center.
Arizona does not currently have anything making rainwater harvesting illegal. House Bill 2363 (2012) established a joint legislative study committee on macro-harvested water. The committee shall study, analyze and evaluate issues arising from the collection and recovery of macro-harvested water, including reviewing scientific data on surface water, rainwater harvesting, methodology costs and benefits, potential impacts on water rights, downstream users, and potential aquifer management issues and groundwater management issues. House Bill 2830 (2012) allows the governing body of a city or town to establish an energy and water savings account that consists of a designated pool of capital investment monies to fund energy or water savings projects in public facilities, including rainwater harvesting systems (Arizona Revised Statutes §9-499.16). Pioneer Water Tanks exceed all requirements for water storage applications for the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. Get a quote today to start safely storing water. There are a growing number of tax incentives and rebates in Arizona: http://www.tucsonaz.gov/water/rebate
Arkansas Code Annotated § 17-38-201 (2014) declares that the State Board of Health “shall allow the use of a harvested rainwater system used for a non-potable purpose if the harvested rainwater system is: (1) designed by a professional engineer licensed in Arkansas; (2) is designed with appropriate cross-connection safeguards; and (3) complies with Arkansas Plumbing Code.” Pioneer Water Tanks exceed all requirements for water storage applications for the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. Get a quote today to start safely storing water.
Rainwater harvesting systems are legal in California, as long as they comply with the California State Water Resources Board requirements. Assembly Bill 1750 (2012) enacted the Rainwater Capture Act of 2012. The bill authorizes residential, commercial and governmental landowners to install, maintain, and operate rain barrel systems and rainwater capture systems for specified purposes, provided that the systems comply with specified requirements. A landscape contractor working within the classification of his or her license would be authorized entry into a prime contract for the construction of a rainwater capture system if the system is used exclusively for landscape irrigation. Pioneer Water Tanks exceed all requirements for water storage applications for the California State Water Resources Board. Get a quote today to start safely storing water.
Colorado residents are legally allowed up to two rain barrels for rainwater harvesting systems that comply with the Colorado Water Conservation Board. Collecting more than what is allotted is still illegal as well as groundwater harvesting. In 2009, two laws were passed that loosened restrictions. Senate Bill 80 (2009) allowed residential property owners who rely on certain types of wells to collect and use rainwater (Colorado Revised Statutes §37-90-105). House Bill 1129 (2009) authorized ten pilot projects were captured precipitation was used in new real estate developments for non-potable uses (Colorado Revised Statutes §37-60-115). House Bill 1016 (2015) updates criteria and guidelines for rainwater harvesting pilot projects with the goal of incentivizing applicants, and applies lessons learned from previous pilot projects. House Bill 16-1005 (2016) allows residential homeowners to use two rain barrels, with a combined capacity of 110 gallons, to capture precipitation from their rooftops. The collected precipitation is required to be used on the property where it is collected, and may only be applied to outdoor purposes such as lawn irrigation and gardening.
There aren’t any current regulations against rainwater harvesting nor are there incentives to be found in Connecticut. Pioneer Water Tanks exceed all requirements for water storage applications for the Connecticut Water Planning Council. Get a quote today to start safely storing water.
There aren’t any current regulations against or for rainwater harvesting in Delaware. Learn more about rainwater harvesting in Delaware: the University of Delaware. Pioneer Water Tanks exceed all requirements for water storage applications for the Delaware Department of Natural Resources. Get a quote today to start safely storing water.
Rainwater harvesting is encouraged in Florida with tax incentives and rebates being offered by several local municipalities. Pioneer Water Tanks exceed all requirements for water storage applications for the Florida Department of Water Resource Management. Get a quote today to start safely storing water.
Rainwater harvesting is legal in Georgia and is regulated by the Department of Natural Resources in the Environmental Protection Division. Pioneer Water Tanks exceed all requirements for water storage applications for the Georgia Water Council. Get a quote today to start safely storing water.
Rainwater harvesting isn’t illegal in Hawaii or on any of the islands and is regulated by Regulated through the Department of Health and Safety. Senate Concurrent Resolution 172 (2008) encouraged county water boards to study and promote water conservation through rainwater collection. According to this resolution, there has been a long history of rainwater collection in the state but primarily in more rural areas in the past. Pioneer Water Tanks exceed all requirements for water storage applications for the Hawaii Department of Health and Safety. Get a quote today to start safely storing water.
It’s legal to harvest rainwater in Idaho and there aren’t any regulations currently legislating it for the state. The University of Idaho released a pamphlet about rainwater harvesting in Idaho: here. Pioneer Water Tanks exceed all requirements for water storage applications for the Idaho Water Resource Board. Get a quote today to start safely storing water.
It’s legal to harvest rainwater in Illinois. There are currently two Illinois state statues:
- In 2009, Illinois created the Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act which relates to water conservation, efficiency, infrastructure, and management while promoting rainwater harvesting (Illinois Revised Statutes Chapter 415 §56).
- House Bill 991 (2011) amended the Homeowners’ Solar Rights Act. It requires that within 120 days after a homeowners’ association, common interest community association, or condominium unit owners’ association receives a request for a policy statement or an application from an association member, the association shall adopt an energy policy statement regarding: (i) the location, design, and architectural requirements of solar energy systems; and (ii) whether a wind energy collection, rain water collection, or composting system is allowed, and, if so, the location, design, and architectural requirements of those systems (Illinois Revised Statutes Chapter 765 § 165/20).
Pioneer Water Tanks exceed all requirements for water storage applications for the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Get a quote today to start safely storing water.
It’s legal to harvest rainwater harvest in Indiana. The state government of Indiana has a page about it: here. Pioneer Water Tanks exceed all requirements for water storage applications for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, the Water Division. Get a quote today to start safely storing water.
It is legal to harvest rainwater in Iowa, there aren’t any current state statutes. The state of Iowa has a page about stormwater: here.
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It’s not illegal to harvest rainwater in Kansas but you may need to apply for a permit to do so if you plan on using the water for anything other than for domestic purposes.”The Kansas Water Appropriation Act” protects both the people’s right to use Kansas water and the state’s supplies of groundwater and surface water for the future. The law is administered by the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s Division of Water Resources, which issues permits to appropriate water, regulates usage, and keeps records of all water rights in the state. It is illegal for individuals in Kansas to use water without holding a vested right or applying for, and receiving a permit to appropriate water from the Division of Water Resources. The exception is water used solely for domestic purposes – that is, water primarily used for the household, watering livestock on pasture, or watering up to two acres of lawn and gardens. No permit is needed for that class of water usage.” – The Kansas Department of Agriculture
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It is not illegal to harvest rainwater harvest in Kentucky nor are there any current state statues regarding it. More information about the state of Kentucky’s use of rainwater can be found: here. Get a quote today to start safely storing water.
Louisiana does not prohibit rainwater harvesting but there are city wide statues against water cisterns, dating back to hundred years ago when yellow fever was around. The current statute for New Orleans is: Sec. 82-55. – Covers required for cisterns. All cisterns, the water of which is used for drinking or culinary purposes, shall be provided by the owners thereof with suitable covers. (Code 1956, § 59-3) Pioneer Water Tanks exceed all requirements for water storage applications for the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. Get a quote today to start safely storing water.
It’s not illegal to harvest rainwater in Maine. Maine has issues with groundwater pollution from stormwater runoff and in certain areas like in Portland, are issuing stormwater runoff fees to pay for the systems that regulate it: learn more. Get a quote today to start safely storing water.
It’s not illegal to harvest rainwater in Maryland. The bigger concern is groundwater pollution from rainwater. There has been a statute for a tax on stormwater runoff that has since been repealed. In certain localities in Maryland, incentives to rainwater harvest are given: learn more. Get a quote today to start safely storing water.
It’s not illegal to harvest rainwater in Michigan. There is the State of Michigan Act 625 of 2012 encouraging it as well as other conservation practices: learn more. Get a quote today to start safely storing water.
It’s not illegal to harvest rainwater in Mississippi. Get a quote today to start safely storing water.
Nevada Senate Bill 74 was approved into law on June 9, 2017. Link to SB74: Link. Nevada state water law has a “use it or lose it” doctrine where water rights not put to beneficial use can be passed on to someone else. There were also restrictions on using rainwater for anything other than for wildlife but SB74 created a few changes including allowing the use of a small-scale rainwater system without having to prove the “use it or lose it” doctrine and expanding the use for the water. Get a quote today to start safely storing water.
It’s not illegal to harvest rainwater in New Hampshire. Get a quote today to start safely storing water.
It’s not illegal to harvest rainwater in New Jersey. Get a quote today to start safely storing water.
It’s not illegal to harvest rainwater in New Mexico and is highly encouraged by the state government. Learn more about rainwater harvesting in New Mexico: here. Get a quote today to start safely storing water. There are many tax credits and incentives for rainwater harvesting in New Mexico as well.
It’s legal to harvest rainwater in North Carolina but there are several laws in place regarding it as well as storage regulations. House Bill 609 (2011) directs the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to provide statewide outreach and technical assistance regarding water efficiency, which includes the development of best management practices for community water efficiency and conservation. Best management practices include water reuse, including harvesting rainwater and using greywater (North Carolina General Statutes § Session Law 143-355). North Carolina also passed Senate Bill 163 (2014), which recognizes the beneficial uses of reclaimed water, including rainwater, for the future water supply of the state. In 2009, N.C. Legislature passed State Law 243 authorizing changes made in the plumbing code to facilitate the use of cistern water in both residential and commercial buildings. The law prevents any state, county or local building code or regulation from prohibiting the use of cisterns for these applications. Get a quote today to start safely storing water.
It is not illegal in Ohio to harvest rainwater and is encouraged in some areas with tax incentives as well as rebates. Ohio allows rainwater harvesting, even for potable purposes. Private water systems that provide drinking water to fewer than twenty-five people are regulated by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). Ohio also has a Private Water Systems Advisory Council within the ODH. The nine-member council is appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate (Ohio Revised Code §3701.344; Ohio Revised Code §3701.346). Get a quote today to start safely storing water.
It’s not illegal to harvest rainwater in Oklahoma. House Bill 3055 (2012) created the Water for 2060 Act. The bill initiates grants for pilot projects, to serve as models for other communities in the state. Pilot projects may include but are not limited to community conservation demonstration projects, water use accounting programs, retrofit projects, school education projects, Xeriscape demonstration gardens, projects which promote efficiency, recycling and reuse of water, and information campaigns on capturing and using harvested rainwater and gray water. Get a quote today to start safely storing water.
Rainwater harvesting is limited in legality in Oregon. Since there are such strict regulations that are actively enforced, it’s encouraged to seek local advice before installing any sort of system. Rainwater harvesting is allowed in Oregon, but may only be done from roof surfaces. Oregon Revised Statute §455.060 allows for alternate methods of construction of rainwater harvesting systems. The Oregon Building Codes Division (BCD) has approved the use of rainwater harvesting systems as an alternate method to the state plumbing code. It created methods for both potable and non-potable systems. Senate Bill 79 (2009) directs the BCD to increase energy efficiency, by including rainwater harvesting, in new and repaired buildings. Additional Resources: Oregon Smart Guide – Rainwater Harvesting
It’s not illegal to harvest rainwater in Rhode Island and is encouraged with incentives. House Bill 7070 (2012) created a tax credit for the installation of cisterns to collect rainwater. Any individual or business that installs a cistern on their property to collect rainwater for use in their home or business is entitled to a state income tax credit of 10 percent of the cost of installing the cistern not to exceed $1,000. Each entity is allowed only one tax credit over the life of the cistern unless they are replacing an existing cistern with a larger cistern and have not received the maximum tax credit of $1,000. A cistern is defined as a container holding fifty or more gallons of diverted rainwater or snowmelt, either above or below ground (Rhode Island General Laws § 44-30-28). Get a quote today to start safely storing water.
It is not illegal to harvest rainwater harvest in South Carolina nor are there any current state statues regarding it. Get a quote today to start safely storing water.
It is not illegal to harvest rainwater harvest in South Dakota nor are there any current state statues regarding it. More information about the state of South Dakota’s water rights: learn more. Get a quote today to start safely storing water.
It’s not illegal to harvest rainwater in Tennessee.
SB 2417 / HB 1850 (Enacted) Authorizes the use of green infrastructure practices within areas that have combined sanitary sewage and stormwater systems. Expands the definition of the sewage system to include green infrastructure practices such as rain gardens and cisterns. Get a quote today to start safely storing water.
It’s completely legal and encouraged to harvest rainwater in Texas. There are tax incentives, rebates as well as other incentives based on your location in Texas for rainwater harvesting. House Bill 3391 (2011) is one of the most far-reaching and comprehensive pieces of legislation regarding rainwater harvesting in recent years. Among its provisions:
- Financial institutions may consider making loans for developments that will use harvested rainwater as the sole source of water supply.
- Rainwater harvesting system technology for potable and non-potable indoor use and landscape watering is required to be incorporated into the design and construction of each new state building with a roof measuring at least 50,000 square feet that are located in an area of the state in which the average annual rainfall is at least 20 inches.
- Rules regarding the installation and maintenance of rainwater harvesting systems that are used for indoor potable purposes and connected to a public water supply system are required to be developed, prior to this bill it could only be used for non-potable purposes. The rules must include criteria to ensure that safe drinking water standards are met and the water does not come in contact with the public water supply at a location off of the property.
- A person who intends to connect a rainwater harvesting system to a public water supply system for potable purposes is required to give written notice to the municipality or the owner or operator of the public water supply system. A municipality or public water supply system may not be held liable for any adverse health effects allegedly caused by the consumption of water collected by a rainwater harvesting system that is connected to a public water supply system and is used for potable purposes if the municipality or the public water supply system is in compliance with the sanitary standards for drinking water.
- Each municipality and county are encouraged to promote rainwater harvesting at residential, commercial, and industrial facilities through incentives such as the provision at a discount of rain barrels or rebates for water storage facilities. The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) is required to ensure that training on rainwater harvesting is available for the members of the permitting staff of municipalities and counties at least quarterly. School districts are strongly encouraged to implement rainwater harvesting systems.
- A municipality or county is prohibited from denying a building permit solely because the facility will implement rainwater harvesting.
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Rainwater harvesting is regulated with limited legality in Utah. Utah allows for the direct capture and storage of rainwater on land owned or leased by the person responsible for the collection. According to Senate Bill 32 (2010), a person registered with the Division of Water Resources may collect and store no more than 2,500 gallons of rainwater. If unregistered, no more than two containers may be used, and the maximum storage capacity of any one container shall not be greater than 100 gallons (Utah Code Annotated §73-3-1.5). The website to register with the Utah Division of Water Rights: here.
The Vermont state government website has information encouraging rainwater harvesting (link) and storage tanks but there aren’t any specific statues about it currently. It’s legal for individual homeowners to harvest rainwater. Like all state governments, Vermont has rules, regulations, and laws regarding water rights that can be found with The Watershed Management Division for the state (link).
It’s legal and encouraged to harvest rainwater in Virginia. Senate Bill 1416 (2001) establishing the Alternative Water Supply Assistance Fund, providing an income tax credit to individuals and corporations installing rainwater harvesting systems. However, money has not been allocated for these purposes. Virginia also requires the development of rainwater harvesting and greywater guidelines to ease demands on public treatment works and water supply systems and promote conservation (Virginia Code Annotated § 32.1-248.2).Additional Resources: Virginia Rainwater Harvesting and Use Guidelines
It is only completely legal to rooftop rainwater harvest in Washington. Learn more about Washington water rights: here. Washington allows counties to reduce rates for stormwater control facilities that utilize rainwater harvesting. Rates may be reduced by a minimum of 10 percent for any new or remodeled commercial building. However, the rate can be reduced by more than 10 percent, depending on the county. Kitsap County’s Ordinance reduces surface and stormwater fees by 50 percent (Washington Revised Code §36.89.080). Uses for harvested rainwater may include water closets, urinals, hose bibbs, industrial applications, and for irrigation purposes. Other uses may be allowed after approval by the authority with the jurisdiction (Washington Revised Code §51-56-1623).In 2009, the DEQ issued an Interpretive Policy Statement clarifying a water right is not required for rooftop rainwater harvesting. Get a quote today to start safely storing water.
It is legal to rainwater harvest using the rooftop of a home or business. The State of West Virginia provides public education materials on the state website: here. Water rights in West Virginia have a lot of statutes as well as regulation as well as other water regulations, the state has provided a resource: here. Get a quote today to start safely storing water.
It’s not illegal to harvest rainwater in Wyoming. The water laws in Wyoming are based on the “doctrine of prior appropriation”. The doctrine stands that the first person to put the water to beneficial use has the first right, or “first in time is first in right”. (See Source)
The Wyoming State Engineer’s Office regulates water rights, Link.
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U.S. Virgin Islands
Since 1964, the U.S. Virgin Islands requires most buildings to be constructed with a self-sustaining potable water system, such as a well or rainwater collection system (U.S. Virgin Island Code Title 29 §308). Get a quote today to start safely storing water.