Rainwater Collection Part 2: Guidelines on Collection

AdobeStock_75645198-minRainwater collection is popular, but many people wonder if it is actually legal in their states. Most states don’t have laws stating it is illegal, but many states do have some guidelines on collecting rainwater. Check out some of the common rules regarding collecting rainwater.

Requires a Landscape Contractor

Some states allow rainwater collection, but require the system be built by a professional, so you can’t build your own. For example, in California, the state requires that your rainwater collection system be built by a landscape contractor, but they must also be licensed to build such a device. Similarly, in Arkansas, the system must be designed by a professional engineer who is licensed to work in Arkansas. This ensures the system meets Arkansas plumbing codes.

Can Only Be Used for Specific Purposes

Some states also detail how you can use the collected water. In many states, the water can only be used for non-potable or non-drinkable purposes outside. This largely includes irrigation for plants or in water features. However, some states also allow the water to be used as potable. In Ohio, water can be collected for drinking water, but private systems that provide drinking water to less than 25 people must be regulated by the Ohio Department of Health. Make sure you know what purposes you can use rainwater for in your state.

Only So Much Water Can Be Collected

While some states don’t seem to dictate how much water you can collect, others are quite specific. Colorado recently passed a bill that allows residents to collect rainwater, but they can only have two rain barrels. Together, these rain barrels cannot exceed 100 gallons. In addition, some states dictate where you can collect the water. In Oregon, you can only collect rainwater from roof surfaces.

May Allow You to Claim a Tax Credit

Another thing you’ll want to check with your state is if you can get a tax credit for your rainwater collection system. In Rhode Island, an individual or business that installs a system can get an income tax credit of 10 percent of the cost of installing the system, but the total amount can’t exceed $1,000.

Many states actually encourage the collection of rainwater for use in irrigation systems, etc. because it allows homeowners to use water without wasting natural resources, such as drinking water. Before you start collecting rainwater at your house, make sure you check your state and local laws, so you know if it is legal and if there are rules on how to collect.

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