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Is it illegal to collect rainwater

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Rainwater in the United States has not been federally controlled, and has been left to the states' individual police powers. Some states have specific regulations regarding the collection and use of rainwater as listed below.


Legality in the US[edit]

Describe specifics in the US and then list the legal standing of small scale rainwater catchment.

State Status (No Regulation/Moderate Regulation/ High Regulation) Notes
Alabama No Regulation No rainwater collection regulations or incentives, technical resources found here
Alaska No Regulation No rainwater collection regulations or incentives, technical resources found here
Arizona Low Regulation Regulated through the Department of Water Resources; city or town may establish money to fund rainwater harvesting systems; check county for local incentives; more information can be found here
Arkansas No Regulation No rainwater collection regulations or incentives
California High Regulation Regulated through the Division of Water Rights', which includes specific system requirements and licensing criteria that landscapers must follow to install rainwater harvesting systems; check county for local incentives. More information can be found here, and technical resources can be found here
Colorado High Regulation Law HB-1005 allows residential properties of a single house or multi-family residences with four units or less to collect rooftop rainwater up to 110 gallons for outdoor use only (landscape irrigation); in addition, residential properties that are supplied by a residential well can collect an unlimited amount of rainwater (roof collection only) for both indoor and outdoor uses; all other rainwater harvesting applications are not allowed under Colorado State law. More information can be found here
Connecticut No Regulation No rainwater harvesting regulations; property development planning resources can be found here
Delaware No Regulation No rainwater harvesting regulations
Florida No Regulation No rainwater collection regulations; check counties for local incentives. Technical resources can be found here
Georgia Low Regulation Department of Natural Resources', Environmental Protection Division manages water resources; state plumbing code allows rainwater harvesting; check for local incentives. More information can be found here
Hawaii Low Regulation Regulated through Department of Health and Safety; more information can be found here
Idaho Low Regulation Allowed through a legal clarification made by the Office of the Attorney General; more information and resources can be found here, and here
Illinois Low Regulation Local government can regulate rainwater harvesting per state plumbing law; more information can be found here
Indiana No Regulation No rainwater collection regulations; check counties for local incentives
Iowa No Regulation No rainwater collection regulations or incentives; more information can be found here
Kansas No Regulation No rainwater collection regulations or incentives
Kentucky No Regulation No rainwater collection regulations or incentives
Louisiana No Regulation No rainwater collection regulations or incentives
Maine No Regulation No rainwater collection regulations or incentives
Maryland No Regulation No statewide rainwater harvesting regulations; check county for local incentives. Technical resources can be found here
Massachusetts No Regulation No rainwater collection regulations or incentives; technical information can be found here
Michigan No Regulation No rainwater collection regulations or incentives
Minnesota No Regulation No statewide rainwater harvesting regulations; check county for local incentives. Technical information can be found here
Mississippi No Regulation No rainwater collection regulations or incentives
Missouri No Regulation No rainwater collection regulations or incentives
Montana No Regulation No rainwater harvesting regulations, technical information can be found here
Nebraska No Regulation No rainwater collection regulations or incentives, technical resources can be found here
Nevada Low Regulation Regulated through the Department of Conservation & Natural Resources; water permit required. Regulation information can be found here
New Hampshire No Regulation No rainwater harvesting regulations; technical information can be found here
New Jersey No Regulation No rainwater collection regulations or incentives; technical information can be found here
New Mexico Low Regulation Regulated through the State Engineer Office; no specific requirements exist for outdoor uses; indoor uses must meet quality standards; check county for local incentives. Regulation information can be found here
New York No Regulation No statewide rainwater harvesting regulations; check county for local incentives. Technical resources can be found here
North Carolina Low Regulation Regulated through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources; allowed through state's plumbing code; check county for local incentives. Regulation and technical information can be found here
North Dakota No Regulation No rainwater collection regulations or incentives
Ohio Low Regulation Regulated through Department of Health and Environmental Protection Agency; codes in place that include system sizing and materials. Regulation information can be found here, and here
Oklahoma Low Regulation Encouraged through state legislation: Water for 2060 Act. Regulation and technical resources can be found here
Oregon Low Regulation Regulated through the Water Resources Department; specifies only roof surfaces may be used; check county for local incentives. Regulation information can be found here
Pennsylvania No Regulation No rainwater harvesting regulations; technical resources can be found here
Rhode Island No Regulation No rainwater harvesting regulations or incentives
South Carolina No Regulation No rainwater harvesting regulations or incentives; technical resources can be found here
South Dakota No Regulation No rainwater collection regulations or incentives
Tennessee No Regulation No rainwater collection regulations or incentives
Texas Low Regulation Regulated through Water Development Board; Texas tax code section 151.355 provides sales tax exemption of rainwater harvesting equipment; Texas property code 202.007 prevents homeowners associations from banning rainwater harvesting installations; House Bill 3391 requires rainwater harvesting system technology to be incorporated into the design of new state buildings; check county for local incentives. Regulation information can be found here
Utah High Regulation Regulated through Division of Water Rights; maximum capacity 2,500 gallons; registration required depending on number of containers and storage capacity. Registration information can be found here, and technical resources can be found here
Vermont No Regulation No rainwater harvesting regulations; technical information can be found here
Virginia Low Regulation Regulated through Department of Health and the state's 2012 construction code; check county for local incentives. Regulation information can be found here
Washington Low Regulation Regulated through Department of Ecology; counties may reduce stormwater rates for buildings using rainwater harvesting; rainwater harvesting off of rooftops does not require a water permit. Regulation information can be found here
West Virginia No Regulation No rainwater harvesting regulations or incentives; technical information can be found here
Wisconsin No Regulation No rainwater collection regulations or incentives
Wyoming No Regulation No rainwater collection regulations or incentives

Global Legality[edit]

Country Status (legal/illegal/mixed/other) Notes
India Legal Mandatory in some areas, dependent on community size and regulations vary depending on roof size. Those areas include: Himachal Pradesh, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Port Blair, Chennai, New Delhi, Kerala, Indore, Kanpur, Hyderabad, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Rajasthan, Mumbai, and Gujarat [1]
Mexico Legal
Australia Legal Certain states in Australia have made similar mandatory rainwater regulations to those in India, also varying on roof size. Those states include: Victoria, South Australia, Sydney and New South Wales, Gold Coast, and Queens. [2]
Germany Legal Use is restricted to non-potable uses due to concerns about industrial air pollution. [3]

References[edit]



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