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Does anyone have an up-to-date list of which US states require a permit or otherwise restrict land owners from harvesting water? I know Washington, Utah, and Colorado were on the list at one point.

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4 Answers 4

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In the west water rights were acquired by the states to encourage expansion westward. Over times most states have enacted laws/regulations permitting rainwater catchment.

For a full list of these laws, please refer to: www.harvesth2o.com/statues_regulations.shtml

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Utah still prohibits RWH outright, but I haven't heard of anyone being prosecuted for doing it on their homestead.

Louisiana, in New Orleans, still has a ban on cisterns because of an old law dating back to French rule that was a response to mosquito outbreaks.

California just adjusted their policy, in spite of Governor Brown's veto of a law that would have established guidelines. Los Angeles county passed legislation to support RWH there.

Most states have permitting and/or permission restrictions when a RWH system is installed in a service area of a public water supply to insure no cross-connections or backflow problems exist.

For more information on rainwater harvesting in Texas, go here: http://www.rainwaterharvestingtexas.com

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Rainwater collection can refer to different aspects. There's agricultural use, there's home and garden use, there's storm run off prevention, etc.

As for collecting water for personal household use, Colorado has had a history of not allowing it , but in 2009, they passed new legislation to allow homeowner rain water collection (as well as well drilling): http://www.flxxrainwater.com/resources/co-laws/

It appears Washington still has restrictions, though has relaxed them on minimal amounts (such as rain barrels). This article also talks about Colorado's issues as well: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/29/the-legalities-of-rainwater-harvesting/

I'm not aware of other state's restrictions, though there very well may be.

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Washington state removed the restrictions on rainwater harvesting for homeowners. It is not against the law now, in Wa. state to collect rainwater for personal use. That changed in 2009. Find the info here:

http://www.ecy.wa.gov/news/2011/016.html

Of course, if you set up a massive dam and store millions of gallons of water, that is another story, particularly in Eastern Washington state. This is fodder for some extremists who have tried to prevaricate the situation by misrepresenting the facts, and spreading hate and discontent. This is totally wrong. The average homeowner can collect and store rainwater in Wa. State. It's no longer against the law - however it was for 90 some years before 2009.

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