Collecting Your Own Rainwater

Clayton notes that it’s illegal in Utah, and I believe in many western states, to collect rainwater. People are weird about water in the West, because there’s not generally enough to go around, which I supposed is where the western phrase “Whiskey is for drinkin’, and water is for fightin’.” originated from. I suppose these were the rules, odd though they may be, that stopped people from killing each other over water rights.

7 Responses to “Collecting Your Own Rainwater”

  1. Patrick says:


  2. I lived on a mountain in Eastern Washington State and we collected rainwater into a big stainless steel cistern for non-drinking use. We had to haul drinking water up.

  3. NUGUN says:

    Irony is that certain collection and drainage techniques improve the ground quality and make the region less dry. Sustaining greater plant life and thus leading to more rain.

    Forced run off often leads to increases in aridness.

  4. AZRon says:

    I don’t know if this is a relevant issue, but here in AZ, you can be fined for collecting water and allowing it to stagnate. It becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes. (pointy-faced, west nile virus carrying bastards)

    That said, I caught a case of the “fu(k them’s” a while back, and went off city water for 6 months. I’d shave some chlorine tablets into the rain water that I collected for bathing, and got my drinking water in cans (from Milwaukee).

  5. Chas Clifton says:

    It used to be illegal in Colorado, being construed as an injury to downstream water-rights holders, although I never heard of a prosecution.

    Now it is legal under some circumstances, with a permitting process that I suspect is also being ignored.

  6. chris says:

    You have to jump through some hoops in Oregon also.

  7. MAJ Mike says:

    Not aware of any limitations here in Texas. Rainwater collection is encouraged hereabouts to lessen the demands on our aquifers.