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Rainwater Harvesting in Your State: Is it Legal?

Are you interested in water conservation and rainwater harvesting, but don’t know your state’s legal status? We’ve got you covered with this quick guide about the rainwater harvesting restrictions by state.

To Harvest, or Not to Harvest?

Simply put, rainwater harvesting is legal, as there are no federal laws or restrictions to regulate it. In most states, rainwater collection is encouraged and promoted without restrictions. However, some states have specific regulations on rainwater collection, which are outlined below. The World Population Review identified the following 13 states with rainwater harvesting restrictions in 2021:

Arkansas: Under the Arkansas Code Annotated Rainwater § 17-38-201 and the state Plumbing Code, residents can harvest rainwater for non-potable use with a capture system that’s certified by a licensed engineer in Arkansas.

California: According to the 2012 Rainwater Capture Act, landowners may utilize rainwater collection systems for specified purposes.

Colorado: Residents can collect a maximum of 110 gallons of rainwater with two rain barrels for use at the collection site, or outdoors, in compliance with House Bill 16-1005.

Georgia: The Department of Natural Resources regulates the collection of rainwater and restricts water use to outdoor purposes.

Idaho: Residents may collect rainwater on their property without impeding another individual’s water rights, or natural waterways.

Illinois: The Plumbing-Rainwater Systems Bill SB0038 requires that rainwater capture systems adhere to the Illinois Plumbing Code, and limits the use of collected rainwater to non-potable purposes.

Louisiana: Individuals are allowed to capture rainwater in compliance with the state mandate requiring covers on collection vessels. 

Nevada: In accordance with Senate Bill 74, residents can collect rainwater with a grant of water rights, which is subject to revocation if used for unspecified purposes.

North Carolina: Rainwater harvesting is allowed under state law guidelines (House Bill 609 and Senate Bill 163), which include state assistance in determining the practical use and application of collected rainwater and collection methods.

Ohio: Residents are permitted to collect rainwater for potable and non-potable purposes. Under state law, the Department of Health regulates water systems that supply drinking water to a total of 25 people or less.

Oregon: According to state regulations, rainwater collection is only permissible with a rooftop collection system. 

Texas: Individuals may harvest rainwater under the provisions of House Bill 3391. The regulations require that the capture system be integrated with the building structure, and a notice in writing is given to the local municipality.

Utah: Senate Bill 32 allows residents who own or lease property in the state to harvest rainwater. Individuals registered with The Division of Water Resources can store a maximum of 2,500 gallons of rainwater, and unregistered individuals may collect a maximum of 200 gallons of water with two containers.

And there you have it, rainwater harvesting is legal in all states. In all of the remaining states that aren’t listed above, individuals can legally collect rainwater without restrictions. In any case, it’s always a good idea to check with your state legislature to ensure that you’re following all state regulations properly.

Learn More About Rainwater Harvesting

You can find more information, including tips and the environmental benefits of rainwater harvesting practices here.

If you want to maximize your water supply and save money on your water bill, then we can help! Check out our variety of rain barrels and rainwater tanks to help you get started with your water conservation efforts.