Harvesting Rainwater

Harvesting Rainwater


Collecting rainwater is a fairly straightforward process that involves routing the flow of rainwater through a gutter system and into an empty, sealed barrel. If you want a more modern and effective technique to harvesting rainwater, however, you can install a rainwater harvesting system. The benefits of a specialized harvesting system lie in the details. When rain runs down your gutter system and trickles into the downspout, it enters a filter that removes any leaves, dirt, bacteria and other unwanted filth to help clean the water supply. From there, your sifted rain water goes into a tank with a filter of its own so the water can be further cleaned and purified. After that point, it is ready to be used – many homeowners even hook their rain harvesting systems up to sprinklers and garden hoses.

Restrictions and Rewards

Some states have restricted the use of rainwater harvesting by making laws against the act of drinking or distributing rainwater. Some states even regulate the rainwater collecting or harvesting systems. Some states, such as Texas, not only allow this practice but also encourage it by allowing people to purchase rainwater harvesting systems free of sales tax. Some states have even passed laws against homeowners’ associations’ right to prohibit rainwater harvesting.

When the Rain Isn’t Yours

A few states have outlawed rain harvesting so it’s important to take a look at your own state laws regarding the matter. Many states’ reasons for outlawing the water is that it is not solely one individual’s property, proclaiming that rainwater eventually seeps into the ground and finds its way to streams, rivers and other sources of water which many different individuals can claim legal ownership of, and have been able to for generations.

Changing Their Minds

At least two states have started to show signs of thinking about the effects of not allowing homeowners to collect rainwater on their own land. Colorado has in the past legalized rain harvesting through the use of wells or through caught rain that falls on the roof of an individual’s home. The catch to this is that the amount of water gathered at one period of time cannot exceed 110 gallons of water, and can only be used outdoors on the property it was collected from.

California has legalized rain harvesting in 2012, realizing that allowing individuals and homeowners to landscape with the water collected could help repair devastating state-wide drought conditions, and therefore a law was passed that people could filter the water that passed through their gutters and fell on their roofs through harvesting barrels and systems. Provided  that each individual used the water for outdoor lawn and landscaping purposes, they could then collect water from their property.