It is Not illegal to catch rainwater in “most states”

First of all, look to the table of contents page on this blog to get detailed info (from links to sources) on rain water harvesting laws, or lack of them,  in the U.S. .  These laws are changing rapidly and becoming more and more permissive regarding rain water harvesting.

Update June 9, 2014: All 50 state government websites and/or associated websites have been checked. The only state where it is against the law (for some people) to collect rain water is Colorado, its legal in all other states. Know that some counties and cities may have laws that differ from their state government laws.

Update December 15, 2013: The number of state government sites checked is now up to 24. Still no laws found against rain water harvesting by individual homeowners.

Update: August 21, 2013: So far I have looked up regulations on 18 states in the U.S. :  Maine, Tennessee, Georgia, Washington state, Oregon, Utah, Idaho, Missouri, South Dakota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Kansas, Arkansas, New Mexico, Colorado, South Carolina, and New Jersey

I have found absolutely nothing specifically prohibiting rain water harvesting by individuals in all cases. There are regulations on industrial pollution, new construction, and large amounts of water diversion –  typically over 100,000 gallons. There are, also, hundreds of counties, cities, and residential districts that may indeed have laws against rain water harvesting by individuals, but not at the state government level.

Directly below is a document endorsed by the mayor of Albuquerque, New Mexico regarding  rainwater harvesting:

Here is one regarding state sponsored rain water harvesting in the U.S. state of New Mexico:

Here is another link to a story about rainwater harvesting becoming legal in Colorado:

and from the above story, here is an update to one of the links they had that was changed: (we found the study they speak of that shows the inaccuracy of the assumptions used to form the original restrictive Colorado laws regarding rainwater harvesting). This link goes directly to the PDF file that contains the study “Holistic Approach to Sustainable Water Management in Northwest Douglas County” the part regarding rainwater recharge of ground water starts on page 25 of the report. It shows that lots of the rain in Colorado never actually made it to the ground water before development began. This is a complex study but it is clearly written and you must read it to understand the issues:–HolisticApproachtoSustainableWaterManagementinNorthwestDouglasCounty.pdf

Lots of “prepper” blogs refer to the “southwestern states” as having and creating laws that make it “against he law” to harvest rainwater. Here is the story on the southwestern states straight from those states. If one reads this document, one will discover that the laws are not becoming more restrictive, they are actually becoming way, way less restrictive:–Rainwater-Harvesting–May-2010–CAP.pdf


Now, links to some of the blogs I found that really screw up the information about rainwater harvesting so as to spread hate, discontent, fear, uncertainty and doubt. There are so many “prepper” blogs that have hyped – up rants about how repressive government is ripping away at the “average citizen’s rights”. Some of this may be true, but not so with rainwater harvesting. While it is imperative that big government be kept in check, we do no good by doing so with un-truths, exaggerations and prevarication of the facts.

Some disturbing misunderstandings and inaccuracies here:

This one is not as bad as the previous, but there are posts here that show peoples ignorance:

This one is full of mis-information:

More misinformation here. This fellow has millions of gallons of water stored. If you do some research you will discover that this guy owns 170 acres of land in/near the city’s watershed, and only about 15 miles from Medford, Oregon. He has been there for, apparently, many years, and has had these ponds for many years. It is claimed that he did get approval from the government for the ponds, but then they went back on their word and came after him. It gets real hot and dry in the summer in Medford, Oregon. They need all the water they can get. He has 170 acres of land with lots of water on it. Now, the city wants his water. Again, follow the money trail. Somewhere, someone stands to make a lot of money on water. The sad thing is that lots of people there really need water in the summer. Is it “big government” or, “big business” or both that are at the source of this issue? Let’s look at this from this guy’s perspective (assuming he is telling the truth).  He buys land, or inherits it from his kinfolk. He is miles from urban sprawl, and has no desire to harm anyone else (we assume). It is obvious that the nearest neighbors have all the water they will ever need. Along come land developers – the city grows exponentially. Now they need more water to serve the newly created municipalities; and even more to create more development. They want his water. They find a way to get at it through government regulations.  Sound crazy? No. This similar scenario, on a much larger scale, actually happened in California early in the 20th century with the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir dam. Read more here.

read about the issue near Medford here:


This is not about the average person collecting several hundred gallons of water in rain barrels; but this issue is worth watching closely. But lets know the truth. Read this stuff below in the next link for yourself – fox news really hypes it up good:

More fear, uncertainty, doubt, hate and discontent, and inaccurate information in this link.  At this site there are two links to stories of situations that are indeed good examples of government overstepping its authority; but these issues are not about rainwater harvesting being against the law; however they are (apparently) accurate and do represent abuse of power:



Some mis-information here:


More inaccurate info here:

“There are several states where rain collection is restricted or illegal. It’s totally illegal, for example, in Oregon and Utah.”Sorry dude’s, but you’re totally wrong. Check the other links on this blog you are reading. Utah just lifted some restrictions on rainwater harvesting, and Oregon only regulates some types of rainwater harvesting.

More fear, uncertanty and doubt here:



I could go on finding links for hours. They are all over the net. The only upside to all this inaccurate hype, is that people may be made aware that there are potentially others who will want to control their access to water, but be careful, always, ALWAYS, follow the money trail. Government officials can be influenced by money from wealthy corporations. This is the real threat to our “freedom”. And if you are led to a conclusion by deliberate un-truths, exaggeration, and mis-information, does the end really justify the means; and how would you feel when you found out that all the info you got to justify your stance was basically bs?  Duped? Lied to? Go figure.

If anyone has information showing that the stuff I post here is wrong, or inaccurate, please post your reply here with a link to the source, and we’ll change this post to reflect the new information.

If you post your opinion (a statement with no link to the source) your post will be marked as such and we will change nothing. You are entited to your opinion. Spamdexing and deliberate attempts at free advertising will be deleted immediately.

This entry was posted in slow sand water filter study and construction. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to It is Not illegal to catch rainwater in “most states”

  1. JIM MYSHKA says:







  2. filter_guy says:

    Good question, Jim. Thank you for asking. The short answer is: I don’t know for sure if a slow sand filter will take out sulfur, it might.

    Now, the long answer:
    I’ve had some tests done on the ability of a slow sand filter to remove substances other than microbiological contaminants. The results of those tests are here. Sulfur was not one of the substances involved in the test, however the tests should give you some idea of the abilities of a functioning slow sand filter’s capabilities. The filter tested had been in operation for about 2 and a half years at the time of the tests. It has never been “cleaned”. It still functions and is running right now after close to 7 years of continuous running. This particular filter takes out lots of nasty stuff, including odors from small quantities of stagnant water added to it on a regular basis in the summer time. I am not sure if the sulfurous odor of the stagnant water is actually sulfur, I assume it is hydrogen sulfide gas from the decaying microbes. Our well here has some naturally occurring bacteria that decompose iron, and produce a somewhat disagreeable odor at times, but only after the water sits for a while. We have an experimental tiny slow sand filter (in a plastic pop bottle) running now that takes care of that problem. I used extremely fine sand in the little filter – sifted .15 mm effective size stuff. The flow rate is very, very slow; about like a faucet dripping from a leaky washer. My educated guess is that you will need very fine sand in a filter if you use one, and the flow rate will likely be very slow.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

71 − = sixty six