Rainwater collection is NOT illegal!!!

Sorry if I sound cranky, but if one more person tells me this … It’s so frustrating! How did this rumor get started, and why do so many people go along with it without questioning it?

Believe me, if they were to make rainwater collection illegal I would launch a massive civil disobedience action. And I hope others would too!!

Like, really? The government says that rainwater collection is illegal and we just roll over … “Oh, OK. We just won’t collect rainwater even though municipal supplies can be disrupted anytime, leaving us totally without water. We’ll just go along with purchasing bottled water from corporate leeches that are draining the aquifers and clogging the oceans and rivers with plastic trash. We just won’t collect and use rainwater even though drought-flood cycles are getting more and more severe.”

Yeah, NO.

Fortunately, rainwater collection is not illegal. At least not in the USA, and I imagine if it’s not illegal here in the land of senseless bureaucracy it’s probably not illegal in most places — but I’ll have to look into that. In some US states it’s even incentivized. Now, there are some US states where there are restrictions. Mostly these restrictions seem to be in the drier states, and from what I have read, they are meant to prevent people from hoarding large amounts of water, diverting rivers, etc.

Do you know what’s interesting, though — there are apparently no restrictions on collecting rainwater in Arizona, of all places. One of the driest places on earth. If it’s not restricted there, seems like it shouldn’t need to be restricted anywhere.

I have heard that, in some dry states that restrict rainwater collection, it has to do with money. As in, all the water has been pre-sold downriver to the utilities, so if a person is collecting water from the sky, they are taking away the revenue of the water company. Ewwww!!! I don’t know, sounds like protest time to me.

There is mention of some states restricting rainwater for drinking use. Like, it’s OK to collect rain in a barrel to water your yard, but not OK to drink it. Supposedly the reason for that is that the water can contain animal feces or other impurities. But I say that can happen with any water. And, it’s easy enough to filter one’s water. The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if the powers-that-be just don’t want the masses to know that we can get our own water and filter it and not have to rely on a centralized supply.

Anyway!! Once again, rainwater collection is not illegal. Please help me spread the word, as this noxious rumor has been going around like wildfire for years. Seriously, if I had a gallon of water for every time I’ve heard that “rainwater collection is illegal,” I would be able to grow banana trees and bamboo in Death Valley.

PS. Always question stuff like this! Don’t just go along with it so easily! Our wellbeing is at stake and so is the planet’s.

Further exploration:

States Where It Is Illegal To Collect Rainwater (wisevoter.com): “There is no state in the US where collecting rainwater is illegal, but there are states that have restrictions around rainwater collection. … The reasons for the restrictions on rainwater collection vary but are often related to concerns over water rights, water quality, and the potential impact on downstream water users.”

• The best books and website I know of about all aspects of harvesting rainwater: Brad Lancaster’s website, harvestingrainwater.com Brad is based in Tucson Arizona. Where they get only like 11 inches of rainfall a year, and yet, according to Brad, if it’s harvested wisely it would be enough to serve all the needs of every single resident of Tucson. Enough said! You will love Brad’s YouTube videos, books, and writings.

• Google “DIY sand filter.” You can make your own water filter out of rocks and sand. There are more videos and other tutorials out there than I can possibly mention. I have made one of these together with other people as a group activity at a permaculture convergence, and it’s fairly simple. But at my own place, if I use anything, it would just be a cheesecloth. Of course, you can also choose to purchase one of the popular models of water filter, such as the Brita or the Berkey.

• Also, if you use this blog’s search function to do a search on “rainwater,” you’ll probably find a number of posts I’ve written offering simple tips for collecting rainwater.

• Brad has a whole channel on YouTube. Great stuff! This video is one in particular that I recommend. “Planting the Rain To Grow Abundance.” A TEDx Tucson talk; very engaging 16-minute overview. I always assign this as pre-homework to people attending my talks and classes on rainwater collection.

• “The ancient Sri Lankan ‘tank cascades’ tackling drought” (Zinara Rathnayake; bbc.com). “A 2,000-year-old Sri Lankan hydraulic system uses natural features to help harvest and store rainwater. In a rapidly warming world, it is providing a lifeline for rural communities. … By releasing water into irrigation canals below, the tank supports the rice crop during the dry months before the rains arrive. For nearly two millennia, lake-like water bodies such as this have helped generations of farmers cultivate their fields. An old Sinhala phrase, ‘wewai dagabai gamai pansalai‘, even reflects the technology’s centrality to village life; meaning ‘tank, pagoda, village and temple’.”