Has anyone been penalized for collecting rainwater?

Discussion in 'Finding, Purifying, and Storing Water' started by Homanda Range, May 19, 2016.

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  1. Homanda Range

    Homanda Range New Member
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    While it is almost inconceivable to me, I have learned that some states severely restrict or even downright prohibit the collection of rainwater on one's own property.

    Colorado appears to be the worst when it comes to encroaching on private property rights. Although the state has loosened its draconian restrictions in recent years, the law is still highly restrictive. Property owners are currently "allowed" to catch rainwater in no more than two barrels (or a total of 110 gallons), and are "allowed" to use the water only for lawn and/or garden irrigation -- and only on the property from which the water was collected. (Your neighbor's well dried up? Sorry, but it's against the law to offer him a few gallons to flush his toilet!)

    The ramifications of such laws are, again, inconceivable to me, especially since they appear to apply equally to property owners with full groundwater rights. What sort of logic allows a property owner to draw as much water as his private well can pump (which can affect the ability of neighboring wells, as well as the strata itself), yet prohibits or restricts the collection of water that falls freely from the sky?

    As I understand it, the reasoning behind such laws has to do with preventing the "diversion" of rainwater that would otherwise flow into lakes, streams, and other "community" reservoirs. That, at least, would explain Colorado's insistence on restricting the use of collected rainwater to one's own property -- but does the state actually think that Joe Suburbia has some nefarious plan to suck up every drop of rain that lands on his property and export it to Utah?

    Fortunately, most states have no interest in prohibiting or restricting rainwater harvesting or usage, and a few even encourage it. (Texas, for instance, actually offers a sales tax exemption on equipment used for collecting rainwater. As I recall, Texas also specifically allows harvested rainwater to be used for human consumption, in addition to non-potable purposes.)

    What is the situation like where you live? If you live in a state where rainwater harvesting is prohibited or restricted, have you ever known of a case in which anyone was actually penalized for it?

    Finally, would you ever consider doing anything to get around the law? Or would you attempt to change the law from within the system?
     
  2. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member
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    Yes Homanda, this happens in Australia too, one of the driest countries in the world. Some town councils forbid the use of water tanks, & there has been talk about taxing people's water dams. Government & local council corruption is wide spread in Australia.
    Keith.
     
  3. Tessa

    Tessa Member
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    We're allowed (and even encouraged) to collect rainwater here, but some other very basic common sense measures are heavily regulated. As dumb as it sounds, people semi-local to me have been fined for having vegetable gardens in their front yards, and the number and type of animals you can keep is strictly regulated. I don't live in a neighborhood with a Home Owner's Association (and I never will), and my neighbors share my "mind my own business and leave people alone" approach, but a lot of people around here aren't so lucky. I see posts all the time on chicken keeping forums and groups about nosy neighbors turning people in for keeping chickens in their own yard, ugh.
     
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  4. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    its still legal here to collect rainwater but I have heard that some people with boreholes and septic tanks(i.e. not even connected to the grid) still had to pay water rates to the water companies.
     
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  5. Homanda Range

    Homanda Range New Member
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    Honestly, Keith, this doesn't surprise me. Not the corruption (I don't know Australia well enough to even have an opinion about the current state of affairs), but the obsession with water usage in general. I have never been in Australia during an all-out catastrophe (Ash Wednesday comes to mind), but while there, I have been made acutely aware of the water issues -- beginning with (yes, this should make you laugh) the buttons on the top of nearly every toilet. Honestly, the first time I used a W.C., I had to stop, come out, and ask my host how to flush the darned thing. I swear, I felt like Sylvester Stallone in Demolition Man ("He doesn't know how to use the three seashells!").

    But, seriously, I do understand the drought situation throughout Australia. Nevertheless, it still irks me to no end -- whether Down Under or in the U.S. -- that regular folks, especially those who live off the land, and know what is best for the land -- are not trusted to be good stewards of the environment on which their very lives often depend. Rather, these decisions are made by suits who spend their days in comfy, air-conditioned offices (or on the floors of various legislatures) -- and who more often than not only make matters worse.
     
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  6. Homanda Range

    Homanda Range New Member
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    Wow, that's pretty severe, Tessa -- at least the part about veggie gardens in front yards. Well maintained, any garden, edible or otherwise, can look very attractive, and might be looked upon as an encouragement to neighbors to start their own "victory gardens."

    I couldn't agree more about HOAs. I lived in one once that wasn't terribly strict (although we did have to get permission to put up a satellite dish; now, I understand, even apartment dwellers have the right to a small dish), while my better half lived under the iron hand of an HOA that harassed one resident, mercilessly, about the style of a lighting fixture on a porch. (The kicker: The fixture had been installed by the construction company that had built the entire tract.)

    As for animals, I am very lucky to have chosen a rural area in which to live where everybody really does mind his own business. One neighbor (and by "neighbor," I mean anybody who lives within five miles or so) screened in his entire front yard to accommodate both chickens and ducks (about half a dozen each), while another turned an acre-sized side yard into a mini-goat farm (where I would estimate there are at least two dozen of the critters).

    Nobody bothers them. And there is little I enjoy more than hearing a rooster crow just before dawn, or hearing the goats fuss among themselves in the middle of the night.
     
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  7. Homanda Range

    Homanda Range New Member
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    That's the sort of thing that concerns me about solar electricity: Some (U.S.) states appear to be on the verge of charging for power people don't use, even if their off-the-grid homes have no physical connection to the local power company at all.

    Of course, such plans are the work of energy-company lobbyists. One might think the energy companies would funnel their efforts (and money) into clean-energy plants (solar farms, wind farms, etc.), but it appears next to impossible to convince them that they would generate far more money and create far more good will (and in turn, generate even more money) that way. (Never mind the benefit to the environment; that is, of course, the last thing the well-monied worry about.)
     
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  8. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member
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    Frankly I blame this kind of attitude squarely on the Federal government & the local councils who are illegally acting as local government. To me it seems that they do not want anyone becoming self-reliant. I do see why they prefer mains electricity & coal mining to other methods, they are money & power greedy. Simple as that. Local councils charge rates, which are really a tax. We get nothing for the "rates" that we pay, we have not contracted with the local council for ANY services, & we do not want to. People who do not pay their rates for whatever reason have their property confiscated by the local council & sold!!!
    I do not like the way things seem to be heading, disarming the population for instance, the police, military & the criminals are all better armed now in Australia than the average citizen. More restrictions & loss of freedoms are being implemented all the time now. In many countries the people will not & do not stand for this, but in Australia the majority of people simply don't care. They don't care about other people anymore & refuse to stand up for their rights. There are simply not enough of us to stand against this corrupt authority & it is all going to end very badly.
    Keith.
     
  9. Arboreal

    Arboreal Active Member
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    Bans on collecting rainwater is just one of the Anglo things I can't wrap my head around. Just what kind of purpose can it serve? I guess places like California can face severe water shortage, but how much water can a houseowner collect, anyway? It doesn't seem possible it could make a diffference to the environment. And if it's just a case of local government overreach, why aren't people rebelling against this? I'd hate to be judgemental, but most people in Poland aren't exactly rebellious or active in local affairs, and yet I can't imagine this stuff accepted in my home city.
     
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  10. Neiltarquin

    Neiltarquin Member
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    Darn... How can they do that to you?! Rain water is supposes to be free. We dont have that strabge law in the Philippines. If you want to use rain water, by all means, start collecting. No one will stop you or penalize you. Some politicians are really full of s#!t in passing laws.
     
  11. Corzhens

    Corzhens Master Survivalist
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    Oh, it is a puzzle to me why the government would restrict the collection of rainwater. That act of collecting rainwater is a big help to the environment since it is one way of conserving tap water. We also do that with the 5-gallon plastic bottles for use in irrigating our garden when there is no more rains. With restricting the collection of rainwater, how could the authorities find out about it, do they monitor the homes for that purpose? Pardon me but I think it is silly to have a law like that.
     
  12. FuZyOn

    FuZyOn Expert Member
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    No, I didn't even think this was a possibility. I live in Romania and the government here could care less about what we're doing with rainwater, they're too busy wasting time doing nothing. It seems pretty weird that a country would enforce such rule, they could benefit from rainwater collection as well.
     
  13. texsun54

    texsun54 Member
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    States tax all utilities, so if you are not using the public water system then you are not paying taxes. That is the motivation behind those states that pass such ridiculous restrictions, along with the idea that they do not want people to be self sufficient.
     
  14. Vinaya

    Vinaya Expert Member
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    In our country the government encourage people to use rainwater. rainwater harvest is a popular topic of discussion in the country. It is even speculated that government is trying to make a law where every citizens have to make rainwater collection tank in their home and use rainwater for their every day use. We live in the area where we have good supply of water. However, in the last few years, we have felt a necessity of more water during dry season, and rain water harvest can be one of the best options.
     
  15. explorerx7

    explorerx7 Expert Member
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    In my country, we are encouraged to harvest water in any possible way that we can. I would view restrictions on the gathering of rainwater as breach of my right to enjoy the fruits of nature because rainwater comes from a source which should be free to one and all.
     
  16. airfightermax

    airfightermax Member
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    I'm from the Philippines too and I actually collect rainwater whenever I can! I mostly use it to water my plants but I can actually purify it too when the need arises...

    Weather in the Philippines is a bit spotty, half of the year we have dry season then the other half we have wet season. During the wet season we receive HEAVY downpour so collecting rainwater has been always my habit.
     
  17. ToTang45

    ToTang45 Expert Member
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    I thought taxes were already in place for tanks...Maybe that's just some areas of Victoria, but I've definitely heard something.
    Maybe I'm mistaken and have heard the talk that it 'may happen'
    Anywayyy, the rental property I'm in has a rainwater tank, and I'm sure any incurring costs are the homeowners problem. So I'm a pretty happy guy about that.
     
  18. David Samuel

    David Samuel New Member
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    Harvesting and collecting rain water are legal in my Country, Nigeria. But due to the massive air pollution one needs to be careful, if possible apply common sense or better still apply some purification to the water before making use of it.
     
  19. omegaman

    omegaman Expert Member
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    Only in The Land Of the Free I suppose. Thats the dumbest thing Ive heard in a while. Do you have to put tents over your plants when it rains too?
     
  20. SirJoe

    SirJoe Expert Member
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    I just hope they don't hear about this were I live, they tax everything. It just doesn't make any sense. As mentioned here there are countries that encourage people to harvest rain water. How about a well, do they allow those?
     
  21. Ystranc

    Ystranc Master Survivalist
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    I have a borehole, private drainage and rainwater collection but I still pay the flat fee for being connected to a main. I wanted to keep the connection because I have a dry riser pipe for fire hoses to connect to, strangely it costs less to keep the connection then it would to have it disconnected and reconnected should I need it.
     
  22. Scarlet

    Scarlet Member
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    I never thought that collecting rainwater was restricted in other country. It may sound offensive since it's supposed to be used freely because it just fall free from the sky into our houses. I feel thankful that we don't have laws like that here in my country and yet we don't collect rainwater often.
     
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