Is it Legal to Collect Rainwater?

People have been collecting rainwater for years and now the law actually allows them to do so. Some states across the nation have enacted laws restricting the collection of rainwater. It is no surprise that these regulations have made it difficult for the average homeowner to create and set up a harvesting system. Over the last hundred years, strict restrictions and regulations regarding collecting rainwater have been put in place.

At least nine states have laws that restrict the collection of rainwater with differing penalties for breaking the law. The issue of harvesting precipitation went viral in 2012 when a 64-year-old Oregon man was sentenced to 30 days in jail for doing so. Before you decide to start collecting rainwater and get hit with a fine or even jail time, it is important that you understand the local law governing this use.

Nevada Changes its Laws

Until recently, when rain water once fell into the Las Vegas valley it would then flow into Lake Mead. A strict interpretation of the prior law found that collecting rainwater was illegal. Since Nevada suffered a serious drought, some communities were pleading for a way to recycle the rain. For farmers and homeowners, collecting rainwater was always illegal in Nevada. Rural communities likely did so anyway, just in secret. This changed, however, when governor Sandoval signed a law allowing the collection and recycling of rainwater in Nevada.

Now, the state of Nevada has made this legal, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal. According to current law, it is now legal to collect rainwater off of single-family rooftop houses. The law allows for rain barrels to be used to capture precipitation for non potable domestic use of the water. Beyond this, Nevada law authorizes remote guzzlers for wildlife. They must have a capacity of up to 20,000 gallons at most, collect an area of an acre or less, and have a piping system that is no longer than one-quarter of a mile long.

How to Harvest Rainwater

If you want to collect rainwater, know that anywhere falling rain does not soak into the ground can be collected. In other words, if you have a roof, you likely have a collection area. Your home’s gutters and downspouts along the edges of the home’s roof are a viable water transportation system to harvest rainwater. Of note, the gutters and downspouts have to be large enough to carry the water running off of your roof. Beyond this, you will need a filter or screen to keep the debris and leaves from clogging the downspouts. You will also need appropriate barrels to collect the rainwater.

Contact a Nevada Attorney

If you or someone you know has questions about the legality of harvesting rainwater in Nevada, and the restrictions that are expressed in the law, contact the experienced attorneys at Parry & Pfau. Representing clients throughout the state of Nevada, these knowledgeable lawyers can  provide answers to your questions on several issues regarding the law. These attorneys handle all types of cases. For a free, initial, case evaluation call (702) 879-9555 today.

(image courtesy of Nicola Anderson)