Is It Illegal To Collect Rainwater In the United States?

In the majority of states, rainwater harvesting is either not regulated at all, or is actively encouraged by state governments as a method of water conservation. However, two states — Colorado and Utah — have restrictions in place when it comes to harvesting rainwater. Colorado is the only state where rainwater harvesting is completely illegal. The law dates back 120 years when settlers raced to gobble up all the water rights. The theory was that those raindrops might tumble into the gutter, seep into the ground, and find their way to a river where somebody’s great-great-grandfather once established a claim. Utah is the only other state where the collection of rainwater is illegal. Unlike Colorado, in Utah you can legally collect up to 2,500 gallons of rainwater from your property, but a permit is required. On the flip side, Texas is a state that actively encourages the collection of rainwater. In fact, many counties offer tax incentives to residents and businesses that install rainwater harvesting systems. Idaho and Oregon have their own rules about collecting rainwater. In those states, you may only collect rainwater that has fallen onto the rooftop of your property and not water that has entered a natural waterway that flows through your property. As further awareness grows around the importance of rainwater harvesting and its environmental benefits, we can expect changes to the way in which some states regulate the use of rainwater harvesting systems.