Collecting Rainwater: State by State Guide

Collecting Rainwater: State by State Guide


People have been collecting rainwater for thousands of years for several reasons. It provides people water to use again in their gardens, helps control stormwater runoff, reduces erosion risks and helps mitigate the threat of flooding to name a few.

Harvesting rainwater can be beneficial in a variety of ways. It can help individuals save money on their water bills and it can also help communities as a whole to cut costs. It is also great to have an alternative source of water if for some reason your area’s water did become contaminated.

Harvested rainwater can also give your plants and garden an extra boost. It is typically free from several types of pollutants, chlorine, and other man-made contaminants.

However, in today’s society collecting rainwater is not completely legal in all states and there are various restrictions and regulations that you should be aware of depending where you reside. When the government forms legislation regarding rainwater collection they consider factors such as water rights, quality standards, and public health. However, in recent years droughts and population changes have pushed for more progressive changes to be made. 

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Rainwater collection is encouraged in Alabama, there is currently no legislation that prohibits it.


This is a state that does have some different circumstances concerning rainwater collection but there is no legislation that prohibits rainwater harvesting.


Cities and towns are encouraged to establish a fund for rainwater harvesting 


The use of a harvested rainwater system is permitted for non-potable purposes as long as the harvested system is designed by a professional engineer, includes appropriate safeguards and complies with Arkansas plumbing code.


Residential, commercial and governmental landowners are allowed to install and use rain barrel systems for specific purposes as long as the systems comply with requirements. 


Water must be allotted according to the prior appropriation system. Individuals have the right to put water to a beneficial use based on the priority of the user. Non-priority use of a water source may result in penalties.


This state happily promotes the collection of rainwater by individuals and businesses.


Rainwater collecting is encouraged in Delaware through the use of incentive programs. 


Various government programs are in place that encourages the collection of rainwater including tax incentives and rebates.


Any rainwater collected can only be used for outdoor purposes and is closely regulated by the state.


The government encourages water boards to study and promote water conservation through rainwater collection. There has been a long history of water collection in Hawaii, primarily in rural areas. 


Rainwater capturing is permitted in Idaho as long as it does not affect existing water rights and it cannot have entered a natural waterway. 


Collected rainwater may only be used for non-potable purposes and all systems must be made following state regulations.


The state recommends the use of rain barrels to reduce pollution as well as preserving water. 


Residents and business owners are encouraged by the government to experiment with rainwater harvesting initiatives.


Rainwater that is collected is not permitted if the water is going to be used for domestic or household purposes.


As long as you are not harvesting more than 10,000 gallons per day no permits are required. 


Residents and business owners are permitted to collect rainwater, but fees may be applicable for very large volumes collected. 


The state permits rainwater harvesting but it does have some guidelines that need to be followed. 


Homeowners and businesses alike are encouraged to collect rainwater and are free to use it as they please.


Average homeowners are free to collect rainwater as they please in the state of Massachusetts.


State residents are permitted and encouraged to collect rainwater, the government also has extensive educational resources available regarding rainwater harvesting.


Rainwater harvesting is permitted and encouraged on a state level.


The state has a positive attitude about rainwater collecting and some incentives are offered.


Highly encouraged by the state government, landowners and businesses are permitted to collect rainwater.


Rain barrels are recommended by various grant-funded organizations in Montana.


Rainwater collecting is legal and is promoted by several universities in the state.


Individuals and businesses need to be granted a water right in order to collect rainwater.

New Hampshire

Setting up rainwater barrels is encouraged by the state government in New Hampshire.

New Jersey

Programs are in place for water conservation that provides rebates for property owners who implement eligible water collecting systems. 

New Mexico

Collecting rainwater is permitted but there are strict laws regarding groundwater and surface water. 

New York

A tax credit is available for homeowners and businesses who invest in green infrastructure including rainwater harvesting.

North Carolina

The state recognizes the beneficial uses of reclaimed water, including rainwater, for the state’s future water supply. Overall rainwater harvesting is permitted and encouraged. 

North Dakota

Residents and business owners are supported by financial incentives and rebates if they have systems in place to collect rainwater. 


Rainwater harvesting is permitted for all means, even potable purposes. 


Legislation has been passed that grants to water conservation projects that serve as models for other communities in the state. Lots of education programs are in place that demonstrates efficiency, recycling and reuse of water.


Rainwater harvesting is allowed in Oregon but may only be done from roof surfaces.


Rain barrels are encouraged by public officials and various rain barrel projects have been funded by the state government.

Rhode Island

A tax credit exists for any individual or business who installs a rainwater collection system on their property. 

South Carolina

Since this state receives a great deal of rainfall each year the collection of rainwater is certainly encouraged.

South Dakota

There are some regulations regarding water usage, but people are permitted to collect rainwater.


Authorizes the use of green infrastructure practices within areas that have combined sanitary sewage and stormwater systems.


Rainwater collection is encouraged by the state government in Texas. 


The direct capture and storage of rainwater is permitted on land owned or leased by the person responsible for the collection.


The state is highly supportive of rainwater harvesting, there are rules and regulations in place but the collection is allowed.


An income tax credit is available to individuals and corporations who install rainwater harvesting systems. 


Washington allows counties to reduce rates for stormwater control facilities that utilize rainwater harvesting.

West Virginia

Residents are permitted to capture rainwater for use or to be stored for future use. 


The use of rain barrels for water collection is permitted, there are some restrictions that would come into play but only if you collected extreme volumes of water. 


Rainwater collection is permitted but should only be used for household purposes.