Is Rainwater Harvesting Illegal in America? Resolved!
Collect and Store Rainwater

Is Rainwater Harvesting Illegal in America? Resolved!

There aren’t any Federal laws or regulations preventing people from practicing rainwater harvesting. There are only seven states that have restrictions and or water rights permit requirements for rainwater harvesting. Rainwater harvesting utilizes a building rooftop for collection and is conveyed into storage through either dry or wet conveyance.

Once rainwater hits the ground, it’s no longer defined as rainwater and is defined as stormwater or groundwater depending on the type of contaminants that enter the water. Water diversion, groundwater collection, well water, groundwater, even stormwater collection are all considered legally different than rainwater and may require different regulations depending on the location.

Choose the State

to see how rainwater harvesting is legal.

Rainwater: Refers only to the rain falling on the roof, before coming into contact with the ground.

Stormwater: Refers to the water that drains off a land area from rainfall, includes water runoff from roads, lawns, pathways, etc.

Groundwater: Refers to water that’s stored underground naturally within soil, rock, and sand.

Aquifers: Geologic formations of soil, rock, and sand that stores groundwater

Water diversion: Diverting water (streams, rivers, tributaries, etc with the natural flow) away from its channel for commercial or private use.

States regulate water rights, as defined as the laws that refer to the right of the user in regards to water sources (rivers, groundwater, rainwater, etc). Colorado, Kansas, Oregon, Utah, and Washington include water rights permit requirements for certain applications or capacities of rainwater collection.

Water Rights:

The laws and regulations around the rights of the user to utilize a water source (groundwater, river, stream, tributary, etc) are referred to as Water Rights.

Most water rights can fall under two categories, called doctrine:

  •  The riparian doctrine states that water rights belong to landowners whose land physically touches a river, pond, or lake.

  •  The doctrine of Prior Appropriation: landowners are not given automatic water rights rather they are allocated to prior appropriation, or “first in line-first in right”. Water rights are allocated by a permit with the first person permitted given priority. Typically under this doctrine, water is owned publicly with rights administered by the State with permitting.

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    What states allow rainwater as a source for potable, drinking water?

    Seven states include regulations on rainwater as a potable drinking water source (Texas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon recently, Virginia, Hawaii).

    What are the seven states with restrictions or water rights requirements for rainwater harvesting?

    1. Arkansas: Rainwater harvesting systems are allowed for non-potable purposes only if they are designed by a professional engineer licensed in Arkansas, designed with appropriate cross-connection safeguards, and comply with the Arkansas Plumbing Code.

    2. Colorado: Without a water permit, Colorado residents are legally allowed to store up to 150-gallons for rainwater harvesting systems that comply with the Colorado Water Conservation Board.

    3. Kansas: 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.

    4. Nevada: There are 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.

    5. Oregon: While rainwater harvesting is allowed in Oregon, there are a lot of statutes regulating it including specifying only rooftop collection.

    6. Utah: Utah allows for rainwater harvesting on land owned or leased by the person responsible for the collection. Must register system with Utah Division of Water Rights

    7. Washington: Washington allows rooftop rainwater harvesting for domestic use without a water permit, other applications may require a permit.

    One common Uniform Plumbing Code that is often cited by states is Chapter 13 Nonpotable Water Systems, Section 1303 Nonpotable Rainwater Collection, and Distribution Systems.

    SECTION 1303 NON-POTABLE RAINWATER COLLECTION AND DISTRIBUTION SYSTEMS

    1303.1 General. The provisions of Section 1303 shall govern the construction, installation, alteration, and repair of rainwater collection and conveyance systems for the collection, storage, treatment, and distribution of rainwater for non-potable applications, as permitted by the jurisdiction.

    1303.2 Collection surface. Rainwater shall be collected only from above-ground impervious roofing surfaces constructed from approved materials. Collection of water from vehicular parking or pedestrian surfaces shall be prohibited except where the water is used exclusively for landscape irrigation. Overflow and bleed-off pipes from roof-mounted appliances including but not limited to evaporative coolers, water heaters, and solar water heaters shall not discharge onto rainwater collection surfaces.

    Alabama

    The state of Alabama recognizes rainwater harvesting as a private property right since water rights are under the riparian doctrine. The Alabama Water Resources Act regulates water rights and gives authority to the Alabama Water Resources Commission. The Commission has released policy recommendations including rainwater harvesting as a water conservation solution.

    The Alabama Cooperative Extension System has an online resource, Rainwater Harvesting in Alabama.

    (Link)

    Relevant Links for Alabama

    Alabama Water Resources Act, Chapter 10B – Alabama Water Resources

    (Link)

    Rainwater Harvesting for Irrigation Water by Alabama A&M Auburn University

    (Link)

    Alaska

    Water in Alaska is declared a public resource to be managed by the State to maximize the benefit to the public. Alaskans have the right to collect rainwater and snow, as well as self-haul from natural water sources (within the legal confines).

    The Cold Climate Research Center has a resource on rainwater harvesting in Alaska:

    (Link)

    Relevant Links for Alaska

    Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Water Rights In Alaska

    (Link)

    “In Alaska’s Constitution, water was declared a public resource belonging to the people of the state to be managed by the state for maximum benefit to the public. All surface and subsurface waters on all lands in Alaska are reserved to the people for common use and are subject to appropriation in accordance with the Alaska Water Use Act. The Water Resources Section adjudicates water rights, provides technical hydrologic support, and assures dam safety.”

    (Link)

    Rainwater Harvesting in Cold Climates

    “With freshly fallen snow 10 inches of snow will equal approximately 0.7 inches of water or another way to calculate it is 14 inches of freshly fallen snow will equal 1 inch of water. Over time the snow becomes more compacted and by the time the snow begins to melt it will yield more water per inch; closer to 3-4 inches of snow will equal 1 inch of water.”

    (Link)

    Arizona

    It’s legal in Arizona to use rainwater harvesting for non-potable, outdoor use. Many counties in Arizona have a Plumbing Code that refers to Section P2912 Nonpotable Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems of the International Residential Code for regulation. Rainwater harvesting is legal for non-potable applications without a permit, with some counties having regulations on potable use (for example Coconino County).

    Many cities offer financial incentives for rainwater harvesting (for example, Tucson). These incentives were established by Arizona 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).

    Watershed Management Group is a nonprofit organization that offers public education, resources, classes, and more to promote sustainable practices like rainwater harvesting.

    (WaterShedMG.org)

    Relevant Links for Arizona

    A User’s Guide to Section P2914 of the 2018 International Residential Code: Potable Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems, Coconino County, Arizona

    (Link)

    “The waters of all sources, flowing in streams, canyons, ravines or other natural channels, or indefinite underground channels, whether perennial or intermittent, flood, waste or surplus water, and of lakes, ponds and springs on the surface, belong to the public and are subject to appropriation and beneficial use…..”, (Arizona Revised Statutes § 45-141).

    (Link)

    Arizona Department of Water Resources: Water Harvesting resources and links

    (Link)

    Tucson, Arizona Rainwater Harvesting Rebates:

    (Link)

    City of Tucson Water: Harvesting Rainwater Guide to Water-Efficient Landscaping

    (Link)

    Arkansas

    The State of Arkansas allows rainwater harvesting for non-potable use without a permit. Rainwater isn’t currently allowed as a potable drinking water source. The University of Arkansas has a Low Impact Development Manual that covers rainwater harvesting with case studies.

    (Link)

    The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government has another resource that has a chapter on rainwater systems.

    (Link)

    Relevant Code for Arkansas

    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.”

    (g) The State Board of Health shall allow the use of a harvested rainwater system used for a nonpotable purpose if the harvested rainwater system:

    (1) Is designed by a professional engineer licensed in Arkansas;

    (2) Is designed with appropriate cross-connection safeguards; and

    (3) Complies with the Arkansas Plumbing Code.

    Arkansas Code Annotated § 17-38-201

    (Link)

    California

    The State of California enacted the Rainwater Capture Act in 2012. The Act authorizes residential, commercial, and governmental landowners to install, maintain, and operate rainwater harvesting systems that comply with specified requirements.

    Rooftop rainwater harvesting doesn’t require a water rights permit in California. In 2018, the State of California SB-558 Property taxation: new construction exclusion: rainwater capture system was enacted. This act updated Section 74.8 of the California Revenue and Taxation Code to exclude new construction of rainwater harvesting systems for property evaluation for taxes, as a financial incentive. The California Plumbing Code 2016 covers Chapter 16 Nonpotable Rainwater Catchment Systems requirements that are followed per County. There aren’t any regulations currently for rainwater harvesting as a potable drinking water source in California.

    The State of California recognizes rainwater harvesting as water conservation and sustainability. Systems can be a water source for:

    – Irrigation

    – Non-potable uses (even indoor like toilet flushing, laundry, etc)

    – Fire protection systems including sprinklers, fire department connections, etc.

    – Back-up water supply

    Relevant Links for California

    State of California AB-1750 Rainwater Capture Act of 2012

    (Link)

    State of California SB-558 Property taxation: new construction exclusion: Rain Water Capture System  (2017-2018)

    (Link)

    State Of California State Board Of Equalization Property Tax Department: New Construction Exclusion: Rain Water Capture System

    (Link)

    Does storage of rainwater harvested from rooftops require a water right permit?

    No. Water Code section 10574 provides that rainwater harvesting from rooftops does not require a water right permit. The State Water Board encourages methods of water collection or diversion, such as rooftop rainwater harvest, that reduce demand on streams and reduce water quality problems associated with stormwater runoff.

    (Link)

    California Plumbing Code 2016, Chapter 16 Nonpotable Rainwater Catchment Systems, 1602.0 Nonpotable Rainwater Catchment Systems

    1602.1 General

    The installation, construction, alteration, and repair of rainwater catchments systems intended to supply uses such as water closets, urinals, trap primers for floor drains and floor sinks, irrigation, industrial processes, water features, cooling tower makeup, and other uses shall be approved by the Authority Having Jurisdiction. Additional design criteria are capable of being found in ARCSA/ASPE 63.

    (Link)

    California Senate Bill No. 558, or as it was first known as Prop 72, passed and was approved by the Governor on January 31, 2018. This act added and repealed Section 74.8 of the California Revenue and Taxation Code to exclude property taxes from the new construction of rainwater harvesting systems.

    (Link)

    Colorado

    Colorado House Bill 16-1005 enacted in 2016 allows for the collection of precipitation from a residential rooftop if:
    – Two or fewer rain barrels are used with a combined storage capacity limited to 110-gallons or less
    – The building being used for collection is primarily a single-family dwelling or a residence with four or fewer units
    – The collected precipitation must be used on the property where it was collected for outdoor purposes only

    “Colorado residents should understand that water rights in Colorado are unique compared to other parts of the country. The use of water in this state and other western states is governed by what is known as the prior appropriation doctrine… A simplified way to explain this system
    is often referred to as the priority system or “first in time, first in right.” It may seem strange that rainwater harvesting in Colorado is so carefully watched, but understanding why this is so can provide valuable insight into the way water is shared in Colorado.”

    from the Colorado State University

    (Link)

    Relevant Links for Colorado

    Colorado Division of Water Resources: Rainwater Collection in Colorado
    Senate Bill 09-080, which was passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor during the 2009 legislative session, will allow certain property owners who rely on certain types of wells for their water supply, limited collection and use of precipitation, only if:

    1. The property on which the collection takes place is residential property; and

    2. The landowner uses a well, or is legally entitled to a well, for the water supply; and

    3. The well is permitted for domestic uses according to Section 37-92-602, C.R.S., or Section 37-90-105, C.R.S. (generally, this means the permit number will be five or six digits with no “-F” suffix at the end); and

    4. There is no water supply available in the area from a municipality or water district; and

    5. The rainwater is collected only from the roof of a building that is used primarily as a residence; and

    6. The water is used only for those uses that are allowed by, and identified on, the well Permit.

    (Link)

    Colorado State University, Rainwater Collection in Colorado:

    (Link)

    Colorado Division of Water Resources, Rainwater, Storm Water & Graywater

    (Link)

    Colorado House Bill 16-1005: Residential Precipitation Collection

    Section 1 of the act allows the collection of precipitation from a residential rooftop if:

    – A maximum of 2 rain barrels with a combined storage capacity of 110 gallons or less are used;

    – Precipitation is collected from the rooftop of a building that is used primarily as a single-family residence or a multi-family residence with 4 or fewer units;

    – The collected precipitation is used on the residential property on which the precipitation is collected; and The collected precipitation is applied to outdoor purposes such as lawn irrigation and gardening.

    (Link)

    Connecticut

    Rainwater harvesting is a part of Connecticut’s official watershed plan for stormwater management and is allowed without a water rights permit. The 2018 Connecticut State Building Code refers to 2015 IPC Section 1303 Non-potable Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems for regulations.

    There are a few state resources available to guide residents on how they can utilize rainwater harvesting in Connecticut.

    Relevant Links for Connecticut

    2015 IPC portion of the 2018 CT State Building Code, Section 1303 Nonpotable Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems

    1303.1 General

    The provisions of Section 1303 shall govern the construction, installation, alteration and repair of rainwater collection and conveyance systems for the collection, storage, treatment and distribution of rainwater for nonpotable applications, as permitted by the jurisdiction.

    (Link)

    Connecticut government website short guide to rainwater harvesting, “Rainfall as a Resource A Resident’s Guide to Rain Barrels in Connecticut”

    (Link)

    Rainwater harvesting is a part of Connecticut’s watershed plan as a way of stormwater management:

    (Link)

    Delaware

    Rainwater harvesting is recognized as sustainable stormwater management and doesn’t require a water rights permit in Delaware. The 2018 State of Delaware Plumbing Code refers to the 2015 IPC Section 1303 Non-potable Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems for regulations.

    Rainwater harvesting systems are eligible for Delaware Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund that provides loans for green infrastructure projects. The University of Delaware has released resources on rainwater harvesting, including a complete guide.

    Relevant Links for Delaware

    2018 State of Delaware Plumbing Code: Section 1303 Nonpotable Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems

    1303.1 General

    The provisions of Section 1303 shall govern the construction, installation, alteration, and repair of rainwater collection and conveyance systems for the collection, storage, treatment and distribution of rainwater for non-potable applications, as permitted by the jurisdiction.

    (Link)

    The Division of Water manages and protects Delaware’s water resources. It provides technical assistance, laboratory services, and regulatory guidance and implementation. And the Division performs applied research and provides educational services.

    (Link)

    Rainwater harvesting systems are eligible for Green Project Reserve funding:

    (Link)

    Guide on Green Project Funding:

    (Link)

    University of Delaware guide to rainwater harvesting:

    (Link)

    Green Infrastructure Primer A Delaware Guide to Using Natural Systems in Urban, Rural, and Coastal Settings

    (Link)

    Florida

    It’s legal in Florida to utilize rainwater harvesting and systems may be eligible for state or local funding. Florida Building Code refers to International Green Construction Code P2912 Nonpotable Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems addressing the construction, installation, alteration, and repair of rainwater collection systems. Rainwater harvesting doesn’t require a water rights permit and may be eligible for funding as sustainable water management.

    Rainwater harvesting systems are becoming a more viable water source in Florida for both businesses and residents.

    Relevant Links for Florida

    FLORIDA BUILDING CODE – Residential 6TH Edition (2017)

    P2912 Nonpotable Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems
    New section addressing the construction, installation, alteration and repair of
    rainwater collection and conveyance systems. Provisions are based on the
    International Green Construction Code.

    (Link)

    Augmenting Rainwater Harvesting to Offset Potable Water for Irrigation and Indoor Use within the Tampa Bay Region A Best Management Practice

    (Link)

    Southwest Florida Water Management District, Rain Barrels A Homeowner’s Guide

    (Link)

    The objective of the Cooperative Funding Program is to assist local governments, public and private water providers, and other entities with the construction and/or implementation of alternative water supply (AWS) and water conservation (WC) projects that support or complement the District’s mission.

    For the Florida Water Star Inspector to evaluate the cistern’s capacity to the irrigation system’s requirements, applicants must submit the following information:

    – Formulas used for the sizing calculation in accordance with Tampa Bay Water BMP manual

    – A detailed design drawing

    – Irrigation system precipitation rates (each zone)

    – Irrigation controller scheduling information

    – Rainwater harvesting projects may be eligible

    (Link)

    Georgia

    The State of Georgia allows rainwater harvesting without a water rights permit and encourages water conservation. Georgia State Minimum Standard Plumbing Code 2012 (IPC 2012) Chapter 15 Rain Water Harvesting Systems sets regulations for non-potable use, including for indoors. The provisions outlined in the Chapter govern the materials, design, construction, and installation of rainwater harvesting systems.

    “Nothing in this Chapter shall be construed to restrict the use of rain water for outdoor irrigation.” – Georgia State Minimum Standard Plumbing Code 2012 (IPC 2012) Chapter 15 Rain Water Harvesting Systems

    Relevant Links for Georgia

    Georgia Rainwater Harvesting Guidelines

    The Georgia Rainwater Harvesting Guidelines are intended to assist all parties involved in the design, construction, inspection, and maintenance of rainwater harvesting systems and to help successfully comply with Appendix I-‘Rainwater Recycling Systems’ of the 2009 Georgia Amendments to the 2006 International Plumbing Code (IPC). The parties mentioned above include owners, building officials, design professionals, and contractors.

    (Link)

    Georgia State Minimum Standard Plumbing Code 2012 (IPC 2012) Chapter 15 Rain Water Harvesting Systems

    1501.1 Scope.

    The provisions of this Chapter shall govern the materials, design, construction and installation of rain water systems for automatic clothes washers, flushing of water closets, flushing of urinals, and cooling tower makeup water. Nothing in this Chapter shall be construed to restrict the use of rain water for outdoor irrigation.

    1501.3 Definition

    The following terms shall have the meaning shown herein.

    CONDENSATE. Condensed water collected from the surfaces of an air conditioning unit’s evaporator coils or a dehumidifier unit’s evaporator coils.

    RAIN WATER. Water collected from runoff of roofs or other structures after a rain event. Rain water may also include condensate.

    (Link)

    University of Georgia Rainwater Harvesting for System Designers and Contractors

    (Link)

    Hawaii

    Rainwater harvesting provides a water source for many Hawaii residents and businesses. Hawaii County Plumbing Code 1601.3 Permit or Approval covers rainwater systems not requiring a permit unless used for indoor or drinking water use or having a capacity over 360-gallons.

    Rainwater systems are regulated by the Hawaii Department of Health and Safety. There are many resources and guides for rainwater harvesting systems in Hawaii.

    Relevant Links for Hawaii

    Hawaii County Plumbing Code

    “1601.3 Permit or Approval. It shall be unlawful for any person to construct, install, alter, or cause to be constructed, installed, or altered any alternate water source system in a building or on a premises without first obtaining a permit or approval to do such work from the Authority Having Jurisdiction.

    Exceptions:

    (1) A permit is not required for exterior rainwater catchment systems used for outdoor drip and subsurface irrigation with a maximum storage capacity of 360 gallons (1363 L).

    (2) A plumbing permit is not required for rainwater catchment systems for single-family dwellings where outlets, piping, and system components are located on the exterior of the building. This does not exempt the need for permits where required for electrical connections, tank supports, or Enclosures.”

    (Link)

    Guidelines on Rainwater Catchment Systems for Hawaii

    (Link)

    Rainwater Catchment Systems for Hawai‘i

    (Link)

    The State of Hawaii, Department of Health: How to make a home rainwater catchment system safe for domestic use

    (Link)

    University of Hawaii rainwater harvesting resources

    (Link)

    Idaho

    The Idaho Constitution states, “the right to divert and appropriate the unappropriated waters of any natural stream to beneficial uses, shall never be denied…”

    Article 15, 3. In 2008, the Office of the Idaho Attorney General further clarified this by stating, “Your letter of August 1, 2008, asked for a clarification of Idaho law concerning the capture and collection of rainwater. Generally, a person in Idaho has the right to collect diffused surface waters, which include rainwater, on his or her property so long as it does not cause injury to the existing water rights of others.”

    The University of Idaho released a pamphlet about rainwater harvesting in Idaho:

    (Link)

    Relevant Links for Idaho

    Rainwater harvesting in Idaho allowed through a legal clarification made by the Office of the Attorney General

    (Link)

    “the right to divert and appropriate the unappropriated waters of any natural stream to beneficial uses, shall never be denied…” Idaho Constitution, Article 15, 3.

    (Link)

    Illinois

    It’s legal to enact rainwater harvesting in Illinois. Rainwater harvesting needs a permit for systems with more than 5,000-gallons of capacity, when at-risk populations are potentially impacted, or if the system application includes subsurface irrigation, non-aerosolized surface applications that comply with Section 890.3050. Illinois Plumbing Code Section 890.3000 On-Site Collected Rainwater and Stormwater regulates rainwater harvesting systems, under CSA B805-2876 17/International Code Council 805-2017.

    In 2009, Illinois created the Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act to promote water conservation, efficiency, infrastructure, and management that includes rainwater harvesting (Illinois Revised Statutes Chapter 415 §56).

    The Public Building Commission of Chicago released “Water Reuse Handbook” with a chapter on Rainwater Harvesting System Design.

    (Link)

    Relevant Links for Illinois

    Section 890.3000 On-Site Collected Rainwater and Stormwater

    This Section shall apply to the design, installation, construction, alteration, operation, maintenance, or repair of rainwater and stormwater harvesting systems intended to supply applications such as water closets, urinals, and lawn sprinkler systems with sprinkler heads at single family dwellings, multi-family dwellings, and non-residential buildings.

    a) Rainwater harvesting systems shall be designed in accordance with CSA B805-2876 17/ICC 805-2017 based upon end use application.

    b) The plans and specifications for a rainwater harvesting system shall be submitted to the Department for approval before installation in accordance with Section 890.1940 when:

    1) System collection and storage is more than 5,000 gallons of harvested
    rainwater storage;

    2) End use applications of the system are not considered under CSA B805-17/ICC 805-2017; or

    3) Populations potentially impacted by the end use of the on-site rainwater harvesting systems are considered at-risk.

    c) Rainwater collected solely for subsurface irrigation, drip irrigation, or non-aerosolized surface applications shall comply with Section 890.3050.

    (Link)

    CSA B805-2876 17/International Code Council 805-2017 Rainwater Harvesting Systems

    (Link)

    IL SB0038 | 2011-2012 | 97th General Assembly | Introduced

    Bill Title: Amends the Illinois Plumbing License Law. Provides that “plumbing” includes rainwater harvesting distribution systems, but does not include any rainwater harvesting distribution system or rainwater harvesting collection system unless otherwise required by the Illinois Plumbing Code. Requires the Illinois Department of Public Health to adopt and publish a minimum code of standards for rainwater harvesting collection systems and rainwater harvesting distribution systems by January 1, 2012.

    Requires rainwater harvesting collection systems and rainwater harvesting distribution systems to be (A) used only for non-potable uses and (B) constructed in accordance with the Illinois Plumbing Code. Defines “rainwater harvesting collection system” and “rainwater harvesting distribution system”. Effective immediately.

    (Link)

    Indiana

    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.

    Relevant Links for Indiana

    “Green Infrastructure: Reroute rooftop drainage pipes from draining rainwater into the storm sewer to draining it into rainwater harvesting systems, cisterns, or permeable areas.”
    “Harvest and reuse rainwater whenever possible” Indiana Department of Environmental Management Office of Program Support Pollution Prevention and Technical Assistance Section Compliance and Technical Assistance Program

    (Link)

    State of Indiana government website on rain barrels:

    (Link)

    Iowa

    The State of Iowa encourages rainwater harvesting with the Iowa Rain Campaign, for water conservation and stormwater management. The 1985 Iowa Water Plan defines water as “public waters and public wealth of Iowa citizens.” Currently, rainwater harvesting may fall under the topic of water reuse for the Iowa Plumbing Code for larger capacities.

    The Iowa Stormwater Partnership has a resource about rainwater harvesting.

    (Link)

    Relevant Links for Iowa

    Iowa Rain Campaign

    (Link)

    Iowa rain rebates:

    (Link)

    “First in time, first in right” Further appropriation ONLY if water is physically available

    IOWA uses…. A combination of these which is best described as “modified riparian”. This focuses on preservation of instream water uses. The concept originated in South Carolina and Mississippi. However, Iowa is the first state to extensively implement it.

    Beneficial use The purpose of the law, adopted in 1957, is to “…assure that water resources be put to beneficial use to fullest extent possible, that waste or unreasonable use of water be prevented, and that conservation be required”.

    Use, not ownership the right of a riparian owner to prohibit the use of the water by non-riparian neighbors is established; this right by no means makes the water in the stream his property. The water is considered a “wealth” of the people of the State. That is actually an old Roman Law concept.
    All waters are “public waters and public wealth” of Iowa citizens. Iowa statute provides an allocation system based on “beneficial use”.

    • Waste, unreasonable use, and unreasonable methods of water use are prevented.

    • Water conservation is expected

    • Permit System

    – Withdrawals in excess of 25,000 gallons/day from streams or aquifers require a permit from IDNR.

    (Link)

    Kansas

    The State includes regulation with the Plumbing Code 2018 of Kansas, Chapter 13 Non-potable Water Systems: Section 1303 Non-potable Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems. The provisions of Section 1303 regulate rainwater harvesting construction, installation, alteration, repair based on the Uniform Plumbing Code.

    Rainwater systems for outdoor domestic purposes (irrigation, livestock, wildlife, watering, etc), do not require a water rights permit. Rainwater is not specified as a source for drinking, potable water in Kansas. Rainwater systems are included in the Kansas Water Office Future Water Supply Plan as a statewide action.

    Relevant Links for Kansas

    Plumbing Code 2018 of Kansas

    Chapter 13 Nonpotable Water Systems: Section 1303 Nonpotable Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems

    1303.1 General

    The provisions of Section 1303 shall govern the construction, installation, alteration and repair of rainwater collection and conveyance systems for the collection, storage, treatment and distribution of rainwater for nonpotable applications, as permitted by the jurisdiction.

    (Link)

    Kansas Water Appropriation Act

    (Link)

    Kansas Department of Agriculture Division of Water Resources

    (Link)

    A Long-Term Vision for the Future of Water Supply in Kansas by the Kansas Water Office

    STATEWIDE ACTION ITEMS

    Within municipal systems, develop methods to use locally collected stormwater and increase adoption of on-site or individual storm water collection through activities such as rain barrels and rain gardens

    5. Increase collection of agricultural on-site rainwater collection

    (Link)

    Kentucky

    It’s legal to utilize rainwater harvesting in Kentucky under 151.120 Public Water of the Commonwealth. “(2) Diffused surface water which flows vagrantly over the surface of the ground shall not be regarded as public water, and the owner of the land on which such water falls or flows shall have the right to its use.”

    There aren’t any current codes that cover rainwater systems. The Agricultural Water Act includes rainwater harvesting as a water source for agricultural and livestock purposes. Rainwater is utilized on Kentucky farms for a wide spectrum of domestic applications.

    Relevant Links for Kentucky

    Kentucky rainwater harvesting resource sheet with more links

    (Link)

    151.120 Public Water of Commonwealth, What Constitutes

    (1) Water occurring in any stream, lake, groundwater, subterranean water or other body of water in the Commonwealth which may be applied to any useful and beneficial purpose is hereby declared to be a natural resource and public water of the Commonwealth and subject to control or regulation for the public welfare as provided in KRS Chapters 146, 149, 151, 262 and 350.029 and 433.750 to 433.757.

    (2) Diffused surface water which flows vagrantly over the surface of the ground shall not be regarded as public water, and the owner of land on which such water falls or flows shall have the right to its use. Water left standing in natural pools in a natural stream when the natural flow of the stream has ceased, shall not be regarded as public water and the owners of land contiguous to that water shall have the rights to its use.

    (Link)

    THE KENTUCKY AGRICULTURE WATER QUALITY PLAN December 2020

    Benefit(s): Rainwater comes without charge, it’s sodium-free, soft, has almost a neutral pH, and superior for livestock, crops, and landscape irrigation. Harvested water is close to the source eliminating the need for costly distribution systems. Harvesting rainwater and other water found on the landscape provides a water source when groundwater is unacceptable due to sulfur or iron content or unavailable. It can also be used to supplement city water supplies. Harvested water can thereby reduce energy and utility bills.

    (Link)

    Louisiana

    It’s legal in Louisiana to utilize rainwater harvesting with local City codes regulating storage and system construction. The City of New Orleans municipal code 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.

    Several nonprofit organizations encourage rainwater harvesting, such as WaterWise Gulf South and Greenlight New Orleans Rain Barrel Program.

    Relevant Links for Louisiana

    City of New Orleans, Louisiana Code 1956, § 59-3

    (Link)

    WaterWise Gulf South includes rainwater harvesting resource for NOLA

    Water Wise NOLA—Dana Brown & Associates Landscape Architects, Global Green, and Recharge NOLA—is an environmental outreach collaborative devoted to advancing and promoting green infrastructure and its associated benefits through education, events, tours, do-it-yourself workshops, demonstration projects and leadership training.

    (Link)

    Greenlight New Orleans Rain Barrel Program

    (Link)

    STORMWATER Best Management Practices East Baton Rouge Parish – Master Development Program

    A cistern, which captures rooftop runoff, serves several stormwater functions. It retains the runoff until it can be used. Also, sediments in the water settle to the bottom of the cistern. Finally, if the cistern water is connected to a pump and is used for site irrigation, it recycles the rainwater and allows it to eventually infiltrate into the ground.

    (Link)

    Maine

    It’s legal in Maine to utilize rainwater harvesting and is cited as a solution for stormwater management. The State of Maine Stormwater Best Management Practices Manual has a chapter on Low Impact Development Practices that includes rainwater harvesting. The City of Portland also cites rainwater for sustainable development.

    There isn’t any mention of rainwater harvesting in the Maine State Internal Plumbing Code currently.

    Relevant Links for Maine

    City of Portland, Maine Clean Water Equals Clean Growth

    (Link)

    State of Maine Water Laws, no mention of rainwater harvesting

    (Link)

    State of Maine Stormwater Best Management Practices Manual: Chapter on Low Impact Development Practices

    Collection Cisterns: In a commercial setting, the collection of rain runoff can be put to use in the building to offset the cost of their water supply. Cisterns can be located either above or below ground and in out-of-the-way places that can easily be incorporated into a site design. Commercially
    available systems are typically constructed of high-density plastics and can include pumps and filtration devices. Rain barrels are inexpensive, effective, and easily maintainable when used in residential applications to capture roof runoff for later watering of lawns and gardens. Rain Collection Cisterns: Rainwater is stored for later reuse for the building or landscapes.

    (Link)

    Maryland

    It’s legal to use rainwater harvesting in Maryland. Rainwater systems are regulated under the Plumbing Code 2018 of Maryland, Chapter 13 Nonpotable Water Systems: Section 1303 Non-Potable Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems. The Maryland Stormwater Design Manual and other local City guidelines include rainwater harvesting for sustainable stormwater management.

    There are municipalities in Maryland that offer rebates or financial incentives to enact rainwater harvesting for water conservation.

    Relevant Links for Maryland

    Maryland Stormwater Design Manual, Volumes I and II (October 2000, Revised May 2009)

    (Link)

    Rainwater Collection Rebates The City of Gaithersburg

    (Link)

    Montgomery County Government: RainScapes Rewards Rebates

    (Link)

    City of Baltimore Rainwater Harvesting and Urban Agriculture: Context and Potential

    (Link)

    Maryland Department of the Environment Stormwater Design Guidance – Rainwater Harvesting

    (Link)

    MDE FACTS ABOUT: Stormwater Conservation in Your Backyard

    (Link)

    Plumbing Code 2018 of Maryland

    Section 1303 Nonpotable Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems

    1303.1 General

    The provisions of Section 1303 shall govern the construction, installation, alteration and repair of rainwater collection and conveyance systems for the collection, storage, treatment and distribution of rainwater for nonpotable applications, as permitted by the jurisdiction.

    (Link)

    Massachusetts

    It’s legal to utilize rainwater harvesting for outdoor, domestic purposes in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts State Government offers an online resource on Rain Barrels and Other Water Conservation Tools. Massachusetts doesn’t currently have legislation to govern rainwater harvesting but it is included in water conservation, stormwater management resources.

    Relevant Links for Massachusetts

    Massachusetts State Government: Rain Barrels and Other Water Conservation Tools

    (Link)

    Ipswich River Targeted Watershed Grant Fact Sheet: Water Conservation Case Studies, Prepared by: Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and The Ipswich River Watershed Association

    (Link)

    WATER CONSERVATION STANDARDS The Commonwealth of Massachusetts EXECUTIVE OFFICE of ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS and WATER RESOURCES COMMISSION July 2006

    (Link)

    Stormwater Best Management Practices: Guidance Document by Boston Water and Sewer Commission

    (Link)

    Michigan

    The State of Michigan encourages rainwater harvesting for water conservation with Act 625 of 2012. The 2015 Michigan Plumbing Code Section A1303 Non-potable Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems, sets regulations for rainwater harvesting systems.

    There are many statewide and local municipal resources that include rainwater harvesting practices for low-impact development.

    Relevant Links for Michigan

    2015 Michigan Plumbing Code, Section A1303 Nonpotable Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems

    A1303.1 General The provisions of Section A1303 shall govern the construction, installation, alteration and repair of rainwater collection and conveyance systems for the collection, storage, treatment and distribution of rainwater for nonpotable applications, as permitted by the jurisdiction.

    (Link)

    Michigan Legislature COST-EFFECTIVE GOVERNMENTAL ENERGY USE ACT (EXCERPT)
    Act 625 of 2012 18.1713 Definitions; C, D. Sec. 3.

    (Link)

    (ii) Landscaping measures that reduce watering demands and capture and hold applied water and rainfall, including landscape contouring, such as the use of berms, swales, and terraces, the use of soil amendments, such as compost, that increase the water-holding capacity of the soil, rainwater harvesting equipment, and equipment to make use of water collected as part of a storm water system installed for water quality control.

    Landscaping for Water Quality, mentions utilizing rainwater harvesting

    (Link)

    What Is Stormwater? The City of Grand Rapids Michigan

    “Rainwater is a valuable resource that is often lost. Rainwater should be held and used on the land where it falls.”

    (Link)

    City of Detroit Drainage Program Guide Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) Best Management Practice: Cisterns, includes financial incentives for rainwater harvesting

    (Link)

    More on the City of Detroit current stormwater plans

    (Link)

    County of Washtenaw Michigan Low Impact Development

    (Link)

    Low Impact Development Manual for Michigan: includes rainwater harvesting recommendations and case studies in the local area

    (Link)

    Minnesota

    Minnesota allows rainwater harvesting from rooftop collection for outdoor, domestic uses. The 2015 Minnesota Plumbing Code, Chapter 4714.1702 Non-Potable Rainwater Catchment Systems regulates the installation, construction, alteration, and repairs.

    Rainwater can only be legally collected from building rooftops in Minnesota and may not be collected from parking lots, surface runoff, stagnant water, or similar non-roof surfaces.

    1702.9.3 Collection Surfaces. Rainwater catchment systems shall collect rainwater only from roof surfaces. Rainwater catchment systems shall not collect rainwater from:

    (1) vehicular parking surfaces;

    (2) surface water runoff;

    (3) bodies of standing water; or

    (4) similar non-roof surfaces.

    The Minnesota Stormwater Manual has a chapter on Stormwater and rainwater harvest and use/reuse.

    (Link)

    Relevant Links for Minnesota

    Minnesota Administrative Rules 4714.1702 NONPOTABLE RAINWATER CATCHMENT SYSTEMS. 1702.1 General.

    The installation, construction, alteration, and repair of rainwater catchment systems intended to supply uses such as water closets, urinals, trap primers for floor drains and floor sinks, industrial processes, water features, vehicle washing facilities, cooling tower makeup, and similar uses shall be approved by the commissioner.

    (Link)

    Minn. R. 4714.1702-6

    1702.9.3 Collection Surfaces. Rainwater catchment systems shall collect rainwater only from roof surfaces. Rainwater catchment systems shall not collect rainwater from:

    (1) vehicular parking surfaces;

    (2) surface water runoff;

    (3) bodies of standing water; or

    (4) similar nonroof surfaces.

    1702.9.3.1 Prohibited Discharges. Overflows and bleed-off pipes from roof-mounted equipment and appliances, condensate, and other waste disposal shall not discharge onto roof surfaces that collect rainwater for rainwater catchment systems.

    (Link)

    Mississippi

    It’s legal to utilize rainwater harvesting systems as a water source for domestic (non-potable) and can be permitted as a potable, drinking water source. The Mississippi Department of Health “Director or Administrator determines that alternative water to achieve the equivalent level of public health protection” when utilized for a potable drinking water source.

    Mississippi State University provides many online resources on different applications of rainwater harvesting.

    (Link)

    Relevant Links for Mississippi

    Mississippi Handbook for Stormwater Management: Rain Barrels and Cisterns (2-9, 4-53)
    “Cisterns, or rain barrels, are a method of collecting and storing rainwater for future use. Uses include irrigation, vehicle washing, toilet flushing, and laundry operation. Cisterns are effective for reducing runoff if they are used correctly.”

    (Link)

    Mississippi Department of Health Part 20: Bureau of Public Water Supply
    Subpart 72: Public Water Supply

    10. Public water system means a system for the provision to the public of water for Human consumption through pipes or, after August 5, 1998, other constructed conveyances, if such system has at least fifteen service connections or regularly serves an average of at least twenty-five individuals daily at least 60 days out of the year.

    Furthermore, two or more water systems that are adjacent, that are owned or operated by the same supplier of water, that individually serve less than 15 service connections or less than 25 persons but in combination serve 15 or more service connections or 25 or more persons, shall also be defined as a public water system. Such term includes: Any collection, treatment, storage, and distribution facilities under control of the operator of such system and used primarily in connection with such system; and any collection or pretreatment storage facilities not under such control which are used primarily in connection with such system. Such term does not include any “special irrigation district.” Service connection, as used in the definition of public water system, does not include a connection to a system that delivers water by a constructed conveyance other than a pipe if:

    a. The water is used exclusively for purposes other than residential uses
    (consisting of drinking, bathing, cooking, or other similar uses);

    b. The Director or Administrator determines that alternative water to achieve the equivalent level of public health protection provided by the applicable national primary drinking water regulation is provided for residential or similar uses for drinking and cooking;

    (Link)

    Bottling Rainwater: ‘An Elegant, Simple Solution To One Of The World’s Biggest Problems’: Richard’s Rainwater is operating with a Mississippi Brewery since Mississippi allows rainwater as a potable water source.

    (Link)

    Missouri

    Missouri SB 782, Section 640.648 Landowner Use of Water, “Under this act, such landowners shall also have the right to have and use systems for potable water, and systems for rainwater collection.” Rainwater harvesting is legal for domestic and potable drinking water in Missouri.

    Certain municipalities include regulations on rainwater harvesting. The St. Louis Chapter plumbing code, chapter 25.04, Part three regulates Rainwater Catchment. The Southern Missouri Watershed group released a rainwater harvesting manual.

    (Link)

    Relevant Links for Missouri

    HCS/SS/SCS/SB 782 – This act modifies provisions relating to the Department of Natural Resources.

    LANDOWNER USE OF WATER (Section 640.648) – Currently, all Missouri landowners retain the right to have and use private water systems within city limits. Under this act, such landowners shall also have the right to have and use systems for potable water, and systems for rainwater collection.

    (Link)

    2011 Missouri Revised Statutes, TITLE XL ADDITIONAL EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS,
    Chapter 640 Department of Natural Resources

    Section 640.648. Right to private water systems and ground source systems retained, exceptions.

    SB 782 640.648. Right to private water systems and ground source systems retained, exceptions — right to rainwater collection systems retained.

    1. Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, all Missouri landowners retain the right to have, use, and own private water systems and ground source systems, including systems for potable water, anytime and anywhere including land within city limits, unless prohibited by city ordinance, on their own property so long as all applicable rules and regulations established by the Missouri department of natural resources are satisfied. All Missouri landowners who choose to use their own private water system shall not be forced to purchase water from any other water source system servicing their community.

    2. Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, all Missouri landowners retain the right to have, use, and own systems for rainwater collection anytime and anywhere on their own property, including land within city limits.

    (Link)

    St. Louis, Missouri Chapter 25.04 – PLUMBING CODE PART 3 – RAINWATER CATCHMENT SYSTEMS, PART 3 – RAINWATER CATCHMENT SYSTEMS

    1622.0 Non-Potable Rainwater Catchment Systems, Interior.

    1622.1 General. With the approval of the authority having jurisdiction, the provisions of this section shall apply to the installation, construction, alteration, and repair of rainwater catchments systems intended to supply uses such as water closets, urinals, trap primers for floor drains and floor sinks, and other uses approved by the authority having jurisdiction.

    (Link)

    Montana

    It’s legal in Montana to use rainwater harvesting systems as a water source for outdoor, domestic use. The Montana Plumbing Code cites the Uniform Plumbing Code, Section 1303 Nonpotable Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems and lAPMO IS 6-2003 for installation requirements.

    The Montana State University has an online resource, Rainwater Harvesting Systems for Montana.

    (Link)

    Relevant Links for Montana

    Guide to Montana Water Management: Who Does What with Water Resources?

    “Water rights, which regulate water use, are singled out in Section Three of Article IX: “All existing rights to the use of any waters for any useful or beneficial purpose are hereby recognized and confirmed.” It clarifies that all uses of water, regardless the nature, are considered public uses” p. 10

    (Link)

    Nebraska

    Rainwater harvesting is legal in Nebraska and encouraged for outdoor, domestic use. Rainwater use is regulated by the Residential Code 2018 of Nebraska: Chapter 29 Water Supply and Distribution, Section P2912 Nonpotable Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems.

    The University of Nebraska offers online resources and case studies on rainwater harvesting.

    (Link)

    Relevant Links for Nebraska

    University of Nebraska-Lincoln: Stormwater Management: Rainwater Harvesting with Rain Barrels

    (Link)

    Residential Code 2018 of Nebraska: Chapter 29 Water Supply and Distribution

    Section P2912 Nonpotable Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems, P2912.1 General

    The provisions of this section shall govern the construction, installation, alteration, and repair of rainwater collection and conveyance systems for the collection, storage, treatment and distribution of rainwater for nonpotable applications, as permitted by the jurisdiction.

    (Link)

    Nevada

    It’s legal to utilize rainwater harvesting in Nevada for non-potable domestic use without having to prove the “use it or lose it” doctrine. Nevada Assembly Bill 138 defines rainwater harvesting, “may be collected without a water right or permit to appropriate water” as long as the required provisions apply.

    These provisions include the rainwater system must be collected from a single-family dwelling rooftop for non-potable domestic use, it doesn’t conflict with existing water rights, the storage capacity is 20,000-gallons or less, the capture area is an acre or less, the pipe distribution is ¼ mile or less, and it complies with the Department of Wildlife. If these provisions aren’t met, a rainwater system may require permitting with the relevant authorities.

    Rainwater system design and installation are regulated by the Residential Code 2018 of Nevada Chapter 29 Water Supply and Distribution, Section P2912 Nonpotable Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems.

    Relevant Links for Nevada

    Nevada Research Division, Legislative Counsel Bureau Water Policy and Issues in Nevada: An Overview

    “Under prior Nevada water law, collection of rainwater was not allowed without a water right permit from the state engineer. However, minimal collection of rainwater can be beneficial for those homeowners looking to conserve water. Assembly Bill 138 allowed for the capture of rainwater from the roof of a single-family dwelling for non-potable domestic use without a water right. Provided there is no conflict with existing water rights, and other conditions are met, the measure also allowed for the capture of rainwater in a guzzler for use by wildlife.”

    (Link)

    Low Impact Development in Northern Nevada: Rainwater Harvesting

    (Link)

    Nevada Assembly Bill 138

    Existing law requires that subject to existing rights, the appropriation of any water in this State is subject to the provisions of chapter 533 of NRS, which, among other things, require any person seeking to appropriate water to obtain a permit to do so. (NRS 533.030, 533.325) Section 1 of this bill provides that the de minimis collection of precipitation from the rooftop of a single-family dwelling for non-potable domestic use or, under certain circumstances, in a guzzler to provide water to wildlife is exempted from the requirements of chapter 533 of NRS and thus may be collected without a water right or permit to appropriate water. Sections 2-5 of this bill make conforming changes.

    1. The provisions of this chapter do not apply to the de minimis collection of precipitation:

    (a) From the rooftop of a single-family dwelling for non-potable domestic use; or

    (b) If the collection does not conflict with any existing water rights as determined by the State Engineer, in a guzzler to provide water for use by wildlife. The guzzler must:

    (1) Have a capacity of 20,000 gallons or less;

    (2) Have a capture area of 1 acre of less;

    (3) Have a pipe length of 1/4 mile or less;

    (4) Be developed by a state or federal agency responsible for wildlife management or by any other person in consultation with the Department of Wildlife; and

    (5) Be approved for use by the Department of Wildlife.

    2. As used in this section:

    (a) “Domestic use” has the meaning ascribed to it in NRS
    534.013; and

    (b) “Guzzler” has the meaning ascribed to it in NRS 501.121

    (Link)

    Residential Code 2018 of Nevada, Chapter 29 Water Supply and Distribution

    P2901.1 Potable Water Required

    Potable water shall be supplied to plumbing fixtures and plumbing appliances except where treated rainwater, treated gray water or municipal reclaimed water is supplied to water closets, urinals and trap primers. The requirements of this section shall not be construed to require signage for water closets and urinals.

    Section P2912 Nonpotable Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems, P2912.1 General

    The provisions of this section shall govern the construction, installation, alteration, and repair of rainwater collection and conveyance systems for the collection, storage, treatment and distribution of rainwater for nonpotable applications, as permitted by the jurisdiction.

    P2912.2 Collection Surface

    Rainwater shall be collected only from above-ground impervious roofing surfaces constructed from approved materials. Collection of water from vehicular parking or pedestrian walkway surfaces shall be prohibited except where the water is used exclusively for landscape irrigation. Overflow and bleed-off pipes from roof-mounted appliances including, but not limited to, evaporative coolers, water heaters and solar water heaters shall not discharge onto rainwater collection surfaces.

    P2912.7.4 Marking

    Additional marking of collection piping conveying captured rainwater for reuse shall not be required beyond that required for sanitary drainage, waste, and vent piping by Chapter 30.

    (Link)

    New Hampshire

    It’s legal in New Hampshire to use rainwater harvesting for outdoor, non-potable use. There aren’t any current regulations on rainwater collection systems. There are a few guidelines as well as the Soak Up the Rain New Hampshire Project that promote rain barrels for water conservation.

    Relevant Links for New Hampshire

    New Hampshire Homeowner’s Guide to Stormwater Management Do-It-Yourself Stormwater Solutions

    (Link)

    New Hampshire Homeowner’s Guide to Stormwater Management

    (Link)

    Soak Up the Rain New Hampshire Project

    Throughout New Hampshire, neighbors are planting rain gardens, using rain barrels, planting trees, and finding other ways to Soak Up the Rain to protect and restore clean water in their local lakes, streams, and estuaries. Explore this site to learn how you can Soak Up the Rain too.

    (Link)

    New Jersey

    Rooftop rainwater harvesting for outdoor, domestic use is legal in New Jersey. Rainwater collection is included in the New Jersey Stormwater Best Management Practices Manual as well as many public education resources. Rainwater systems may be eligible for the New Jersey Green Infrastructure Financing and have several past successful projects.

    There isn’t currently a Code present regulating rainwater harvesting in New Jersey but permitting may apply depending on the complexity of the system.

    Relevant Links for New Jersey

    New Jersey Stormwater Best Management Practices Manual November 2018 Chapter 9.15 Cisterns

    While a direct law stipulating rainwater harvesting regulations, there are specifications that systems must be built to. “The nonstructural stormwater management strategies design standard in the Stormwater Management rules must be addressed for all major developments, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:8 – 5.3

    (a). The design of a cistern can assist in maximizing the following strategy:

    Strategy #2: Minimize impervious surfaces and break up or disconnect the flow of runoff over impervious surfaces; Cisterns may be designed to reduce the volume of stormwater discharged to downstream facilities and/or to reduce peak runoff rates when designed as an on-line system in combination with an extended detention basin; however, regardless of the design storm chosen, all discharges must be designed for stability and in accordance with the Standards for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control in New Jersey.”

    (Link)

    New Jersey Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program Green Infrastructure Maintenance Manual, covers basic rainwater harvesting

    (Link)

    New Jersey Water Savers A Municipal Guide to Promote Rooftop Rainwater Harvesting

    (Link)

    Unlocking Green Infrastructure Financing, An Applicant’s Guide to Obtaining Water Bank Funding For Green Infrastructure Projects. Includes rainwater harvesting for funding, as well as case studies on systems.

    (Link)

    New Mexico

    It’s legal in New Mexico to use rainwater harvesting for outdoor domestic purposes only. The Office of the New Mexico State Engineer has a statement regarding rainwater systems, “Most homeowners can install and use a rainwater harvesting system for landscape irrigation without public health and water rights concerns. For larger-scale commercial projects, it is a good idea to check with the local OSE Water Rights Division to make sure the project does not inappropriately affect rainwater runoff into a stream system, therefore impacting a public water supply.”

    New Mexico Code R. § 14.8.2.27, Section 14.8.2.27 is based on the Uniform Plumbing Code, Chapter 16 Non-potable Rainwater Catchment Systems for regulation. There are a few resources for rainwater harvesting in New Mexico. Some municipalities offer financial incentives for rainwater harvesting, for example with the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Authority.

    Relevant Links for New Mexico

    Office of the State Engineer Water Use & Conservation Rainwater Harvesting

    “Most homeowners can install and use a rainwater harvesting system for landscape irrigation without public health and water rights concerns. For larger-scale commercial projects, it is a good idea to check with the local OSE Water Rights Division to make sure the project does not inappropriately affect rainwater runoff into a stream system, therefore impacting a public water supply. Also, contact the local New Mexico Environment Department regarding any potential public health concerns. Please see Policy Development for the official policy on rainwater harvesting.”

    “11/24/2004 – The New Mexico Office of the State Engineer supports the wise and efficient use of the state’s water resources; and, therefore, encourages the harvesting, collection and use of rainwater from residential and commercial roof surfaces for on-site landscape irrigation and other on-site domestic uses.

    The collection of water harvested in this manner should not reduce the amount of runoff that would have occurred from the site in its natural, pre-development state. Harvested rainwater may not be appropriated for any other uses.”

    (Link)

    Roof-Reliant Landscaping™ Rainwater Harvesting with Cistern Systems in New Mexico

    (Link)

    City of Albuquerque Rainwater Harvesting: Supply from the Sky

    (Link)

    N.M. Code R. § 14.8.2.27, Current through Register Vol. 32, No. 3, February 9, 2021 Section 14.8.2.27 – CHAPTER 16 NONPOTABLE RAINWATER CATCHMENT SYSTEMS

    Refers to Uniform Plumbing Code: 14.8.2.27 NMAC – Rp, 14.8.2.27 NMAC, 6-28-13 Adopted by New Mexico Register, Volume XXVI, Issue 07, April 16, 2015, eff. 5/1/2015, Adopted by New Mexico Register, Volume XXIX, Issue 07, April 10, 2018, eff. 5/15/2018

    (Link)

    Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Authority Rainwater Harvesting Rebates

    (Link)

    New York

    It’s legal to utilize rainwater harvesting in New York for non-potable use. The Plumbing Code 2015 of New York Section includes regulation in chapter 1303 Non-potable Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems. Appendix C of the Plumbing Code Water Recycling Systems, Wastewater Recycling Systems, and Rainwater Recycling Systems further governs regulations.

    There are several rainwater harvesting guides specific to New York including one by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

    Relevant Links for New York

    New York State Rainwater Harvesting Guide

    (Link)

    Guidelines for the Design and Construction of Stormwater Management Systems Developed by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection in consultation with the New York City Department of Buildings

    (Link)

    New York Buildings Bulletin 2010-027

    “Water recycling systems are referenced in the 2008 NYC Construction Codes. Section PC C101 requires all water recycling systems to be regulated by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Currently, there are no published standards for the basis of national acceptance and recognition. Therefore, it is the purpose of this bulletin to establish alternative acceptance and maintenance criteria for water recycling systems, and to clarify the applicability and identification requirements of piping systems containing treated water. The maintenance criteria establish an ongoing monitoring program and must be met for continued operation of the system.”

    (Link)

    Plumbing Code 2015 of New York

    Section 1303 Nonpotable Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems

    1303.1 General

    The provisions of Section 1303 shall govern the construction, installation, alteration and repair of rainwater collection and conveyance systems for the collection, storage, treatment and distribution of rainwater for nonpotable applications, as permitted by the jurisdiction.

    (Link)

    Rainwater Harvesting 101, COUNCIL ON THE ENVIRONMENT OF NEW YORK CITY

    (Link)

    North Carolina

    It’s legal for residents and businesses to utilize rainwater harvesting in North Carolina. The North Carolina Building Code, 2009 NC Plumbing Code, Appendix C-1 Rain Water Recycling Systems sets regulations in both residential and commercial buildings. North Carolina House Bill 609 (2011) set statewide outreach and low-impact development goals that included rainwater harvesting to promote water efficiency and conservation.

    North Carolina State Law 243, passed in 2009, created the Plumbing Code regulations now found in the Building Code. The State Law also prevents any state, county, or local building code or regulation from prohibiting the use of cisterns for water reuse applications (including rainwater harvesting).

    North Carolina State University offers online resources on rainwater harvesting. The NCDEQ Stormwater Design Manual also includes a chapter on rainwater systems.

    Relevant Links for North Carolina

    NCDEQ Stormwater Design Manual C-7. Rainwater Harvesting System 1 Revised: 11/20/2020 C-7.

    (Link)

    Low Impact Development A Guidebook for North Carolina North Carolina State University, Published by North Carolina Cooperative Extension

    (Link)

    General Assembly Of North Carolina Session Law 2009-243
    House Bill 749 *H749-v-4*

    An Act To Authorize The State Building Code To Permit The Use Of Cisterns To Provide Water For Flushing Toilets And For Outdoor Irrigation In The Construction Or Renovation Of Residential Or Commercial Buildings Or Structures And To Prohibit Any State, County, Or Local Building Code Or Regulation From Prohibiting The Use Of Cisterns For These Uses, And To Clarify Minority Business Purposes For Public Contracts.

    (Link)

    General Assembly Of North Carolina, Session 2013 Session Law 2014-113 Senate Bill 163 *S163-v-3*

    An Act To Designate Reclaimed Water As A Source Water Under Certain Conditions

    (Link)

    North Carolina State University Urban Waterways: Rainwater Harvesting: Guidance for Homeowners

    (Link)

    Rainwater harvesting is another way to reduce the amount of potable water used. 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.

    The N.C. Building Code Council has added Appendix C-1, Rainwater Recycling Systems, which has new requirements for rain water connections, collection reservoir, filtration, overflow and makeup water for cisterns used for flushing toilets and urinals. These requirements protect public health by making the water easily identified as non-potable. Although Appendix C-1 shows a delayed effective date of Jan. 1, 2011, subsequent ratification of State Law 243 made the new plumbing code revision effective immediately.

    Harvested rainwater can be collected from a building’s roof in a rain barrel or cistern, allowing it to be saved and used during dry periods.

    (Link)

    North Carolina Building Code

    2009 NC Plumbing Code, Appendix C-1 Rain Water Recycling Systems. (080311 Item B6), APPENDIX C1 RAIN WATER RECYCLING SYSTEMS

    (Link)

    North Dakota

    It’s legal to utilize rainwater harvesting in North Dakota for outdoor, domestic use. If the rainwater system supplies water for irrigation of more than 5-acres or is for industrial, municipal, rural use may require a water rights permit.

    Morton County in North Dakota offers a page on Rain Barrels.

    Relevant Links for North Dakota

    North Dakota Century Code Title 61 Waters (1905)

    61-01-01. Water of the State-Public Waters. All waters within the limits of the state from the following sources of water supply belong to the public and are subject to appropriation for beneficial use and the right to the use of these waters for such use must be acquired pursuant to Chapter 61-04

    1. Surface Water, rivers, creeks, lakes, ponds, marshes

    2. All ground water

    3. All residual waters from beneficial use and artificially drained

    4. All non contributing streams

    A water permit is required for: Irrigation of more than five acres, Industrial use, Municipal use, Rural water system, Storage of more than 12.5 AF behind a dam.

    NOT REQUIRED FOR DOMESTIC OR STOCK USE

    North Dakota water law is based on the prior appropriation doctrine, where an established water right is superior to any water right with a later priority date.

    (Link)

    A Reference Guide To North Dakota Waters: The guide covers water rights and doesn’t mention rainwater harvesting rather focuses on water conservation.

    (Link)

    Morton County North Dakota: Rain Barrels

    (Link)

    Ohio

    Rainwater harvesting is legal in Ohio for both potable and non-potable use. Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) 3701-28-12 governs private water supplies and recycled water systems with regulation by the Ohio Department of Health. The Ohio Plumbing Code, Section 1105-08. – Rainwater Harvesting is based on the Uniform Plumbing Code and adapted by local municipalities.

    The University of Toledo offers rainwater harvesting resources with online tools.

     

    (Link)

    Relevant Links for Ohio

    Ohio Department of Health, Plans for Developing a Rainwater Cistern or Hauled Water Supply
    “The construction of rainwater cisterns and hauled water storage tanks used as private water supplies in Ohio are covered in Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) 3701-28-12. Cistern and hauled water tank configurations may vary by the contractor and do not necessarily need to correspond with all of the examples provided in this document as long as it is constructed in compliance with the Rules. Contact your local health department for the necessary permits and for additional information.”

    (Link)

    Cincinnati, Ohio – Code of Ordinances Chapter 1105 Plumbing Code Sec. 1105-08. – Rainwater Harvesting.

    (Link)

    Ohio Cisterns and Hauled Water Storage Tanks Used As A Private Water System

    (Link)

    Ohio Code Chapter 3701-28 Private Water Systems

    (Link)

    Oklahoma

    It’s legal to utilize rainwater harvesting in Oklahoma. The Plumbing Code 2015 of Oklahoma, Section 1303 Nonpotable Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems regulate based on the Uniform Plumbing Code. Oklahoma House Bill 3055 (2012) created the Water for 2060 Act. This Act enacted Oklahoma becoming the first state to establish a statewide goal of water conservation – to consume the same amount of freshwater in 2060 that was consumed in 2010.

    The Act initiated grants for water conservation projects, including for rainwater harvesting systems.

    Oklahoma State University offers online resources and guides on rainwater harvesting.

     

    (Link)

    Relevant Links for Oklahoma

    Design of Rainwater Harvesting Systems in Oklahoma

    (Link)

    Water for 2060

    With the passage of House Bill 3055 (the Water For 2060 Act) in 2012, Oklahoma became the first state in the nation to establish a bold, statewide goal of consuming no more fresh water in 2060 than was consumed in 2010.

    (Link)

    Plumbing Code 2015 of Oklahoma, Section 1303 Nonpotable Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems

    1303.1 General

    The provisions of Section 1303 shall govern the construction, installation, alteration and repair of rainwater collection and conveyance systems for the collection, storage, treatment and distribution of rainwater for nonpotable applications, as permitted by the jurisdiction.

    (Link)

    Oregon

    Rainwater harvesting has limited legality in Oregon and may only be collected from an approved building rooftop. It’s encouraged to seek the local authority with jurisdiction before installing any sort of system. Oregon Building Codes Division Revised Statute §455.060 regulates the approval of rainwater harvesting systems as a statewide alternative method of providing water for non-potable uses. “Because of the efforts in Oregon to conserve water, the Building Codes Division has approved the use of rainwater harvesting systems as an alternate method to the state plumbing code.”

    The Bureau of Development Services Portland Oregon, Code Guide: Rainwater Harvesting – OPSC/6/#2 CODE: Oregon Plumbing, “Harvested rainwater is not considered potable (drinkable) water. When harvested rainwater is intended for irrigation only and the system is completely separate from the municipal water system and any plumbing in the structure, the system is not regulated by this code guide. Although no plumbing permit is required, these systems still need to be approved by the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) for stormwater management.”

    There are several online guides directly from the State of Oregon on rainwater harvesting.

    “A few uses of surface water are exempt from the requirement to obtain a permit. These are called “exempt uses.” Exempt uses of surface water include:
    7. Rainwater: collection and use of rainwater from an artificial impervious surface (like a building’s roof).”

     

    Oregon Smart Guide – Rainwater Harvesting

    (Link)

    Relevant Links for Oregon

    Oregon Building Codes Division approval of rainwater harvesting systems as a statewide alternative method of providing water for non-potable uses
    Statewide AlternateMethods are approved by the Division administrator in consultation with the appropriate advisory board. The advisory board’s review is limited to the technical and scientific facts of the proposal.

    In addition:

    – Building officials shall approve the use of any material, design, or method of construction addressed in a statewide alternate method.

    – The decision to use a statewide alternate method is at the discretion of the designer

    – Statewide alternate methods do not limit the authority of the building official to consider other proposed alternate methods encompassing the same subject matter

    (Link)

    Bureau of Development Services Portland Oregon, Code Guide: Rainwater Harvesting – OPSC/6/#2 CODE: Oregon Plumbing Specialty Code- 2014 Edition Oregon Residential Specialty Code- 2014 Edition SUBJECT: Rainwater Harvesting Systems for Non-potable Use for Residential or Commercial Uses

    Harvested rainwater is untreated rainwater collected for limited use in specific plumbing systems.

    Harvested rainwater is not considered potable (drinkable) water. When harvested rainwater is intended for irrigation only and the system is completely separate from the municipal water system and any plumbing in the structure, the system is not regulated by this code guide. Although no plumbing permit is required, these systems still need to be approved by the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) for stormwater management. In addition, other permits, such as an electrical permit for any pumps installed or a grading permit for underground pipe installation, may be necessary depending upon system size and complexity.

    (Link)

    State of Oregon Building Codes Division, Alternate Method Ruling No. OPSC 08-01

    Approval of OPSC 08-01 Rainwater Harvesting Systems for Residential Potable Uses as a Statewide Alternate Method

    “Rainwater recycling systems have been installed in the state as alternate methods under local approval. Previously, no consistent installation standard had been established for rainwater plumbing systems throughout the state. This ruling will provide a consistent standard for installation of rainwater harvesting on a statewide basis.…This ruling applies to all rainwater harvesting systems statewide as an alternate method to that addressed in the state building code.”

    (Link)

    The State of Oregon, Water Resources Department: Oregon Water Rights
    “Under Oregon law, all water belongs to the public. With some exceptions, cities, irrigators, businesses, and other water users must obtain a permit or license from the Water Resources Department to use water from any source – whether it is underground, or from lakes or streams. Generally speaking, landowners with water flowing past, through, or under their property do not automatically have the right to use that water without authorization from the Department.”

    “A few uses of surface water are exempt from the requirement to obtain a permit. These are called “exempt uses.” Exempt uses of surface water include:

    7. Rainwater: collection and use of rainwater from an artificial impervious surface (like a building’s roof).”

    (Link)

    (Link to Entire Publication)

    Eugene Green Building: Harvesting Rainwater Capturing rain to use on-site
    To use rainwater for indoor nonpotable uses, like flushing toilets and clothes washing, you’ll need to apply for:

    • A plumbing permit to prevent contamination of drinking water;

    • An electrical permit for the pump or other electrical controls;

    • Building permits for cistern or underground tank installation may be required. Grading or erosion control review may also be needed for underground tanks.

    To use rainwater for drinking water, you’ll need to apply for the permits described above and meet standards set by the Oregon Building Codes Division. The water must be treated to meet Federal safe drinking water standards.

    (Link)

    Pennsylvania

    It’s legal in Pennsylvania to utilize rainwater harvesting for non-potable applications, as permitted by the jurisdiction. The Plumbing Code 2009 of Pennsylvania, Section 1303 Nonpotable Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems provides regulations that are based on the Uniform Plumbing Code.

    “Drinking water, potable water or water—Safe drinking water as defined in the Pennsylvania Safe Drinking Water Act (35 P. S. § § 721.1—721.17). The term does not include water such as boiler water, mop water, rainwater, wastewater and ‘‘nondrinking’’ water.”

    Pennsylvania State offers a guide on Rainwater Cisterns. The Pennsylvania Stormwater Best Management Practices Manual covers water reuse for non-potable applications such as fire protection.

     

    (Link)

    Relevant Links for Pennsylvania

    Pennsylvania. Penn State Rainwater Cisterns: Design, Construction, and Treatment

    (Link)

    Plumbing Code 2009 of Pennsylvania, Section 1303 Nonpotable Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems

    1303.1 General

    The provisions of Section 1303 shall govern the construction, installation, alteration and repair of rainwater collection and conveyance systems for the collection, storage, treatment and distribution of rainwater for nonpotable applications, as permitted by the jurisdiction.

    (Link)

    READING, PA CODE OF ORDINANCES Chapter 438 RAIN BARRELS

    § 438-2. Authorized users.

    Rain barrels may only be installed by fee simple owners of real property, or by tenants who obtain written permission from the owner prior to installation.

    § 438-3. Authorized uses.

    Rain barrels shall only be used to collect rainwater for nonpotable use on lawns and gardens, for irrigation, for washing vehicles and for other outdoor uses. Under no circumstances shall water from a rain barrel be used for any potable purpose including, without limitation, drinking, cooking or bathing.

    § 438-4. Maximum size and number.

    The maximum capacity of a rain barrel shall not exceed 75 gallons. Multiple interconnected rain barrels are permitted.

    (Link)

    Drinking water, potable water or water—Safe drinking water as defined in the Pennsylvania Safe Drinking Water Act (35 P. S. § § 721.1—721.17). The term does not include water such as boiler water, mop water, rainwater, wastewater and ‘‘nondrinking’’ water.

    (Link)

    Puerto Rico

    It’s legal to use rainwater harvesting in Puerto Rico for non-potable and potable drinking water use. The Puerto Rico Plumbing Code, Chapter 13 Nonpotable Water Systems and Section 1301 and Chapter 29, Water Supply and Distribution, Section P2901.1 provide regulations. The 2016 Puerto Rico Building Code, Chapter 29 Water Supply and Distribution Section P2901 also provides regulations and requirements for systems.

    Plenitud Puerto Rico is a 501c3 non-profit educational farm and community dedicated to service and sustainability.

     

    (Link)

    Relevant Links for Puerto Rico

    2016 PUERTO RICO BUILDING CODE
    CHAPTER 29 – WATER SUPPLY AND DISTRIBUTION SECTION P2901 GENERAL P2901.1

    Potable water required. Where color is used for marking, purple shall be used to identify municipally reclaimed water, rain water and gray water 85 distribution systems. Any non-potable outlet that could inadvertently be used for drinking or domestic purposes shall be posted.

    (Link)

    2018 Plumbing Code of Puerto Rico, Chapter 29 Water Supply and Distribution

    (Link)

    Rhode Island

    It’s legal in Rhode Island to use rainwater harvesting for non-potable use. Rhode Island House Bill 7070 (2012) created a state personal income tax credit for the installation of cisterns for rainwater harvesting. The 2019 Rhode Island Plumbing Code includes section 1303 Nonpotable Rainwater Collection that sets regulations.

    Rhode Island 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).

     

    Relevant Links for Rhode Island

    State Of Rhode Island In General Assembly January Session, A.D. 2012
    Relating To Taxation — Personal Income Tax

    44-30-28. Tax credit for installation of cisterns. – Any individual or business that installs a cistern on their property to collect rainwater for use in their home or business shall be entitled to a state income tax credit of ten percent (10%) of the cost of installing the cistern not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000). Each entity shall be 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 one thousand dollars ($1,000).

    (Link)

    2019 Rhode Island Plumbing Code

    1303 Nonpotable Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems, Section 1303 Nonpotable Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems

    1303.1 General

    The provisions of Section 1303 shall govern the construction, installation, alteration and repair of rainwater collection and conveyance systems for the collection, storage, treatment and distribution of rainwater for nonpotable applications, as permitted by the jurisdiction.

    1303.2 Collection Surface

    Rainwater shall be collected only from above-ground impervious roofing surfaces constructed from approved materials and where approved, vehicular parking or pedestrian walking surfaces.

    (Link)

    South Carolina

    It’s legal in South Carolina to use rainwater harvesting for non-potable, outdoor applications. The 2015 Plumbing Code of South Carolina, Section 1303 Non-potable Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems provides regulation.

    The Low Impact Development in Coastal South Carolina online resource includes a chapter on rainwater harvesting for sustainable stormwater management. Clemson University offers a free guide, Rainwater Harvesting for Homeowners.

     

    (Link)

    Relevant Links for South Carolina

    Low Impact Development in Coastal South Carolina: A Planning and Design Guide

    4.6 Rainwater Harvesting

    Plumbing Code. This specification does not address indoor plumbing or disinfection issues. Designers and plan reviewers should refer to the 2012 Uniform Plumbing Code – Chapter 17 Nonpotable Rainwater Catchment Systems, or local plumbing codes, as applicable. For sizing of conveyance systems refer to Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) 2012 Edition, Chapter 11: “Storm Drainage” section.

    (Link)

    2015 Plumbing Code of South Carolina, Section 1303 Nonpotable Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems

    1303.1 General

    The provisions of Section 1303 shall govern the construction, installation, alteration and repair of rainwater collection and conveyance systems for the collection, storage, treatment and distribution of rainwater for nonpotable applications, as permitted by the jurisdiction.

    1303.2 Collection Surface

    Rainwater shall be collected only from above-ground impervious roofing surfaces constructed from approved materials. Collection of water from vehicular parking or pedestrian surfaces shall be prohibited except where the water is used exclusively for landscape irrigation. Overflow and bleed-off pipes from roof-mounted appliances including, but not limited to, evaporative coolers, water heaters, and solar water heaters shall not discharge onto rainwater collection surfaces.

    (Link)

    UpState Forever: LID Rainwater Harvesting

    UpState Forever is This online, interactive course is designed to help Greenville South Carolina residents, business owners, and neighborhood leaders understand processes that drive local planning and land use policy decisions, as well as the roles and perspectives of diverse stakeholders.

    (Link)

    South Dakota

    It’s legal in South Dakota to use rainwater harvesting without a water rights permit for non-potable, domestic, outdoor use that doesn’t exceed 25,920-gallons per day of water use. Rainwater hasn’t been included in the South Dakota Building or Plumbing Code.

    The South Dakota Department of Environmental & Natural Resources states that all water, surface, and ground, is the property of the people of the state. Whether or not a water rights permit is required depends on the type of water use.

    South Dakota Department of Environment & Natural Resources: Who needs a water right permit?

    “In South Dakota, all water (surface and ground water) is the property of the people of the state and whether you need a water right permit depends on the type of your water use.”

    “The only type of water use which does not require a water right permit is domestic use. However, even domestic use of water requires a permit if your water use exceeds either 25,920 gallons per day or a peak pump rate of 25 gallons per minute. Examples of domestic water uses are:

    1) drinking, washing, sanitary, and culinary uses by an individual or household,

    2) irrigation of a noncommercial garden, trees, etc. not exceeding one acre in size,

    3) stock watering, and 4) 18 gallons per minute for use in schools, parks, and public recreation areas.”

     

    (Link)

    Relevant Links for South Dakota

    SOUTH DAKOTA DROUGHT MITIGATION PLAN Prepared by the South Dakota Drought Task Force

    Rainwater harvesting is cited three times as a solution for water conservation and management.

    (Link)

    Tennessee

    It’s legal to utilize rooftop rainwater harvesting in Tennessee for non-potable, outdoor use. Tennessee SB 2417 / HB 1850 authorizes green infrastructure practices for sustainable stormwater management and expands the definition of green infrastructure to include rainwater collection.

    The Tennessee Permanent Stormwater Management and Design Guidance Manual has included a chapter on rainwater harvesting that details out where a permit could be applicable. The City of Nashville, Best Management Practices includes a chapter on rainwater harvesting.

    Relevant Links for Tennessee

    City of Nashville Volume 5 – Best Management Practices, Permanent Treatment Management Practices, Rain Tanks / Cisterns resource

    (Link)

    SB 2417 / HB 1850 (Enacted) Authorizes the use of green infrastructure practices within areas that have combined sanitary sewage and stormwater systems

    (Link)

    Tennessee Permanent Stormwater Management and Design Guidance Manual, 5.4.10 Rainwater Harvesting

    Rainwater can be used as a resource when it is captured from impervious surfaces, stored in cisterns or rain barrels, and reused as non-potable water. Captured rainwater can be used for landscape irrigation, firefighting needs, toilet flushing, or other greywater uses. Toilet flushing in high-use buildings (i.e., schools, visitor centers) is one of the most effective reuse methods.

    A licensed plumber is required to install the rainwater harvesting system components to the plumbing system.

    After the cistern has been installed, the developer must have an as-built certification of the cistern conducted by a registered professional engineer. The as-built certification verifies that the SCM was installed as designed and approved.

    The Tennessee MS4 permit suggests that a maintenance agreement should be executed between the owner and the local stormwater program or local government responsible for stormwater management. The local stormwater program may set forth inspection requirements, compliance procedures if maintenance is neglected, notification of the local program upon transfer of ownership, and right-of-entry for local program personnel.n verifies that the SCM was installed as designed and approved.

    (Link)

    Full Text:

    (Link)

    Texas

    It’s completely legal to use rainwater harvesting in Texas and has financial incentives available to encourage it. Texas House Bill 3391 (2011) Rainwater Harvesting and Water Conservation are regarded as one of the most all-inclusive legislation regarding the practice. Rainwater harvesting is allowed in Texas for potable and non-potable, indoor and outdoor use and doesn’t require a water rights permit.

    – Rainwater harvesting used for potable and or indoor purposes must include proper backflow prevention and be upheld to current drinking water standards

    – Anyone who connects 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.

    – Texas municipalities and counties are prohibited from denying a building permit solely because the facility will implement rainwater harvesting.

    – Rainwater harvesting is required to be incorporated into the design and construction of every new state building that has a roof measuring 50,000-square feet or more.

    – Texas municipalities and counties are encouraged to encourage rainwater harvesting through financial incentives such as rebates.

    – Financial institutions are legally allowed to give loans for development that includes rainwater harvesting

    – 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.

    Texas, “House Bill 2430 directs the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to establish recommended standards for the domestic use of harvested rainwater, including health and safety standards. It also directs them to develop standards for collection methods for harvesting rainwater intended for drinking, cooking, and bathing.”

    (Link)

    The Plumbing Code of Texas includes Section 1303 Nonpotable Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems for regulation without a permit required.

    Texas A&M AgriLife Extension offers public education and resources on rainwater harvesting on their extensive research and development. The AgriLife rainwater harvesting manual is cited in almost every state in America as the leading resource. The Texas Water Development Board has worked with AgriLife to provide another rainwater harvesting resource.

    (Link)

    Rainwater Harvesting Potential and Guidelines for Texas:

    (Link)

    Relevant Links for Texas

    Texas House Bill 3391 (2011) Rainwater Harvesting And Other Water Conservation Initiatives

    (Link)

    Bill Analysis

    (Link)

    Free Texas rainwater harvesting guides and resources

    (Link)

    Texas has one of the most comprehensive laws protecting rainwater harvesting, the Texas House Bill 3391. In 2001, Texas excluded components of rainwater harvesting systems from sales tax, Section 151.355 of the Texas Tax Code.

    (Link)

    To claim this exemption in Texas, the purchaser must furnish a Tax Exemption Application Form 01‐339 to the supplier at the time of purchase.

    Link: Texas Sales-Tax Exemption Form

    (Link)

    Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Rainwater Harvesting Manual

    (Link)

    Rainwater Harvesting: Guidance for Public Water Systems

    (Link)

    The Texas Water Development Board Rainwater Harvesting Manual

    (Link)

    Plumbing Code of Texas: Section 1303 Nonpotable Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems

    1303.1 General

    The provisions of Section 1303 shall govern the construction, installation, alteration and repair of rainwater collection and conveyance systems for the collection, storage, treatment and distribution of rainwater for nonpotable applications, as permitted by the jurisdiction.

    (Link)

    Utah

    Rainwater harvesting is only legal in Utah when the system directly rooftop captures rainwater on land owned or leased by the person responsible for the collection, for non-potable purposes. Utah 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 Plumbing Code of Utah includes Chapter 13 Nonpotable Water Systems for regulation. Anyone who constructs a rainwater harvesting system with storage greater than 100-gallons must register with the Utah Division of Water Rights.

    “To collect, store, and place the captured precipitation to a beneficial use, a person must register the user with the Utah Division of Water Rights as detailed in 73-3-1.5.”

    Relevant Links for Utah

    Utah Water Rights

    (Link)

    Utah Senate Bill 32 (2010) Rainwater Harvesting 2010 General Session 3 State Of Utah

    (Link)

    Utah Code Annotated §73-3-1.5 Capture and storage of precipitation

    (Link)

    Utah Division of Water Rights

    (Link)

    Utah Division of Water Rights: Rainwater Harvesting Registration

    To collect, store, and place the captured precipitation to a beneficial use, a person must register the use with the Utah Division of Water Rights as detailed in 73-3-1.5.

    A person may collect and store precipitation without registering in no more than two covered storage containers if neither covered container has a maximum storage capacity of greater than 100 gallons.

    The total allowed storage capacity with registration is no more than 2,500 gallons. Collection and use are limited to the same parcel of land on which the water is captured and stored.

    (Link)

    Feasibility of Rainwater Harvesting for Urban Water Management in Salt Lake City

    (Link)

    Plumbing Code of Utah, Chapter 13 Nonpotable Water Systems, Section 1301 General

    1301.1 Scope

    The provisions of Chapter 13 shall govern the materials, design, construction and installation of systems for the collection, storage, treatment and distribution of nonpotable water. The use and application of nonpotable water shall comply with laws, rules and ordinances applicable in the jurisdiction

    (Link)

    Vermont

    It’s legal for individual homeowners in Vermont to utilize rainwater harvesting for non-potable, outdoor use without a water rights permit. There aren’t any specific pieces of legislation or code on rainwater harvesting in Vermont. The Vermont Watershed Management Division is the authority on water rights for the state.

    The Vermont Guide to Stormwater Management for Homeowners and Small Businesses recommends rainwater harvesting for water conservation.

    Relevant Links for Vermont

    Vermont GUIDE TO STORMWATER MANAGEMENT for Homeowners and Small Businesses

    – Recommends rainwater harvesting for water conservation and stormwater management

    – Rainwater “Provides supplemental, non-potable water supply for irrigation”

    (Link)

    Vermont Watershed Management Division

    (Link)

    2017 Vermont Stormwater Management Manual Rule and Design Guidance

    In Vermont, the reuse of harvested rainwater for purposes other than irrigation is largely unaddressed by current state regulations or local codes. Neither the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) nor International Plumbing Code (IPC) directly Vermont Stormwater Treatment Standards Subchapter 4.0 4-92 addresses rainwater harvesting in their potable or stormwater sections (EPA 2008). Because of this lack of specific rainwater harvesting guidance, some jurisdictions have regulated harvested rainwater as reclaimed water, resulting in stringent requirements that make reusing harvested rainwater challenging. The practicality of rainwater reuse will need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

    – Rainwater harvesting shall be limited to rooftop runoff

    (Link)

    Virginia

    It’s legal to utilize rainwater harvesting in Virginia but may fall under reclaimed water regulations depending on the jurisdiction. Virginia Senate Bill 1416 (2001) established the Alternative Water Supply Assistance Fund that provides a tax credit to individuals and businesses for installing rainwater systems.

    The 2012 Virginia Plumbing Code, Chapter 13 Nonpotable Water Systems sets regulations. The 2017 Vermont Stormwater Management Manual addresses the current state of rainwater harvesting in the state. The Virginia Tech Cooperative Extension has an online resource, Best Management Practice Fact Sheet 6: Rainwater Harvesting.

    (Link)

    Relevant Links for Virginia

    Virginia Rainwater Harvesting Manual Compiled by The Cabell Brand Center

    (Link)

    Virginia House Bill 1949 (Prior Session Legislation) Bill Title: Rainwater harvesting; water for human consumption.

    A BILL to amend and reenact §32.1-248.2 of the Code of Virginia, relating to rainwater harvesting; water for human consumption.

    (Link)

    2012 Virginia Plumbing Code, Chapter 13 Nonpotable Water Systems, Section 1301 General

    1301.1 Scope

    The provisions of Chapter 13 shall govern the materials, design, construction, and installation of nonpotable water systems subject to this code. In addition to the applicable provision of this section, reclaimed water shall comply with the requirements of Section 1304.

    (Link)

    Washington

    Rainwater harvesting is legal in Washington from a building rooftop with the water utilized on the property for outdoor, non-potable use. The State of Washington Department of Ecology stated that rainwater harvesting doesn’t require a water permit as long as a few conditions don’t apply.

    Rainwater must be used on the property where it was collected

    Rainwater can only be collected from existing building rooftops that have another purpose other than harvesting water.

    – The rainwater system cannot negatively affect existing water rights in the area.

    – Local restrictions may be developed to govern new systems, including for potable applications.

    Washington Revised Code §36.89.080 offers the ability to reduce surface and stormwater fees by 10-50% that utilize rainwater harvesting. Systems are regulated by the Washington State Building Code: Chapter 16 Non-potable rainwater catchment systems.

    Seattle Public Utilities offers Rainwater Harvesting resources online.

    (Link)

    Relevant Links for Washington

    State of Washington Department of Ecology: Water Rights

    (Link)

    Washington Revised Code §36.89.080

    (Link)

    Washington State Building Code: Chapter 16—Nonpotable rainwater catchment systems.

    (Link)

    State of Washington Department of Ecology: Rainwater harvesting

    When does rainwater collection require a permit?

    Under our current policy, you don’t need a water right permit to collect rainwater, with a few conditions:

    – Rainwater must be used on the property where it is collected.

    – Rainwater can only be collected from existing structures that have another purpose other than collecting rainwater.

    – If we find that rainwater collection is negatively affecting existing water rights in an area, local restrictions may be developed to govern new systems. However, we do not expect the collection of harvested rainwater to cause problems.

    – If you are planning to use rainwater as your primary drinking water source for new building construction, you’ll need to check with your county to see if it is allowed.

    (Link)

    State of Washington Department of Ecology 2009 rainwater use interpretive policy:

    “To (1) clarify that a water right is not required for on-site storage and use of rooftop or guzzler collected rainwater, and (2) identify the Department of Ecology’s intent to regulate the storage and use of rooftop or guzzler
    collected rainwater if and when the cumulative impact of such rainwater
    harvesting is likely to negatively affect instream values or existing water
    Rights.”

    “The on-site storage and/or beneficial use of rooftop or guzzler collected rainwater is not subject to the permit process of RCW 90.03.”

    (Link)

    Rainwater Harvesting, Guidance Toward A Sustainable Water Future, City of Bellingham, Washington

    “The City of Bellingham supports and encourages rainwater harvesting as an important component in its overall efforts to conserve drinking water, reduce peak-day water demand, manage stormwater, and conserve energy.”

    (Link)

    West Virginia

    In West Virginia, it’s legal to utilize rooftop rainwater harvesting from a home or business for non-potable use.

    “Designers and plan reviewers should consult the local and state building and health codes to determine the allowable indoor uses and required treatment for harvested rainwater. In cases where a municipal backup supply is used, Rainwater Harvesting systems must have backflow preventers or air gaps to keep harvested water separate from the main water supply. Pipes and spigots using rainwater must be clearly labeled as non-potable.” – West Virginia Stormwater Management & Design Guidance Manual: 4.2.8. Rainwater Harvesting

    West Virginia Stormwater Management & Design Guidance Manual

    (Link)

    Relevant Links for West Virginia

    West Virginia Water Laws Water Regulations And Water Rights

    West Virginia Code § 22-11-2 holds that “[i]t is the public policy of the State of West Virginia that the water resources of this State with respect to the quantity thereof be available for reasonable use by all of the citizens of this State.”

    (Link)

    West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection: How to Build and Install a Rain Barrel

    (Link)

    West Virginia Stormwater Management and Design Guidance Manual by West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP)

    In cases where a municipal backup supply is used, Rainwater Harvesting systems must have backflow preventers or air gaps to keep harvested water separate from the main water supply. Pipes and spigots using rainwater must be clearly labeled as non-potable.

    (Link)

    Wisconsin

    Rainwater harvesting is legal in Wisconsin for non-potable, outdoor applications. Wisconsin Administrative Code Section 382 provides guidance on the use of rainwater harvesting. Rainwater systems in Wisconsin aren’t required to get a permit if:

    – Rainwater isn’t stored in an underground collection tank

    – The rainwater system isn’t directly connected to the public water supply

    – The rainwater system doesn’t connect to the water inside of the building

    – The rainwater cannot be used for potable applications

    Relevant Links for Wisconsin

    Wisconsin Administrative Code Section 382: Design, Construction, Installation, Supervision, Maintenance And Inspection Of Plumbing

    (Link)

    Rainwater Collection Guidelines For Milwaukee Residents & Property Owners City Of Milwaukee, Environmental Collaboration Office Uwm School Of Freshwater Sciences

    In Wisconsin, there are no laws preventing RWH but there are some rules that control what you can and cannot do with the collected Water (p1)

    You do NOT need a permit to harvest rainwater in the City of Milwaukee provided your system a) does not have an underground collection tank, b) is not directly connected to the public water supply, c) does not supply water inside your building, and d) is not used for potable applications. That means you cannot drink it, nor can you clean or cook food with it. (p2)

    Wisconsin law does not specifically address water reuse the same way as other states but the Administrative Code Section 382 provides guidance on what we can and cannot do with harvested rainwater.

    Collected rainwater should not be brought into the home for reasons other than watering plants unless you have a permit from the City

    (Link)

    Reflo – Sustainable Water Solutions (nonprofit) and the City of Milwaukee Rainwater Harvesting Guide for Milwaukee-area Urban Agriculture

    The Wisconsin Administrative Code “SPS 382: Design, Construction, Installation, Supervision, Maintenance, and Inspection of Plumbing” is typically applied to larger-scale rainwater harvesting systems. Local permits are typically required for systems that have significant plumbing components, such as overflow connections to sewer infrastructure.

    (Link)

    Wyoming

    It’s legal to use rainwater harvesting in Wyoming for non-potable, outdoor use. Wyoming water rights 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”. Rainwater is considered as being put to beneficial use, as promoted by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality.

    The Urban Best Management Practice Manual Conservation Practices to Protect Surface and Ground Water includes a chapter on rainwater harvesting in Wyoming.

    (Link)

    Relevant Links for Wyoming

    Wyoming Water Law: A Summary

    (Link)

    The Wyoming State Engineer’s Office regulates water rights

    (Link)

    City of Gillette Wyoming Rain Barrel Rebate Program

    (Link)

    City of Laramie, Wyoming

    The Wyoming State Engineers office is in charge of water rights in the state. At this time the state does not have a permit process and there is no City of Laramie ordinance preventing the use of rain barrels. Citizens can catch stormwater for personal use without regulation.

    (Link)

    U.S. Virgin Islands

    It’s legal to utilize rainwater harvesting in the U.S. Virgin Islands for all applications and is required on most new construction since 1964. U.S. Virgin Island Code Title 29 §308 requires most newly constructed buildings to be installed with a self-sustaining potable water system, such as a well or rainwater collection system.

    Relevant Links for U.S. Virgin Islands

    U.S. Virgin Island Code Title 29 §308

    (a) General. After May 1, 1964, no building; except commercial developments dwellings and single unit apartments with connected access to the potable water system, shall be constructed, enlarged, or moved unless the owner thereof shall make provision for a self-sustaining water supply system. This system shall consist of a well or rainwater collection area and cistern.

    (Link)

    Minimum design requirements for domestic rainwater-harvesting systems on small volcanic islands in the Eastern Caribbean to prevent related water quality and quantity issues

    R. Reijtenbagh, Published 2010, Environmental Science

    (Link)

    Puerto Rico Fire Protection Water Tanks

    (Link)

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    to see how rainwater harvesting is legal.

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