Rain: Who owns it? - How 4 states see it

Image credit: 

As water becomes harder and harder to find, especially in places like Arizona, New Mexico and California, new communities going up these days are being planned with rain water collectors for each home. Though the water won't be used for drinking, this "˜grey water' as it's called, can be used for toilets or irrigations systems, where the quality of the water isn't so important.

It's only a matter of time before we have the technology to capture our own roof run-off and store it for drinking water. But is that legal? Who owns the rain? If you're using rain barrels or cisterns right now to capture roof run-off for your gardens, are you breaking the law? Sounds silly, right?

Turns out, though, it depends where you live. Here's how some states see it:

The bad:

1. Utah

Capturing the rain and you can find yourself in the slammer here. Rainwater is state property. However, things might be changing. Keep an eye on Senator Scott Jenkins who's trying to get a bill passed that will allow you to harvest the rain.

2. Colorado

Live in Denver? Forget about harvesting your rainwater until state legislators get to work on a new bill allowing it, but only for irrigation. Until then, you'll have to go rogue if you want to collect the rain because Colorado says your roof is merely a tributary to a stream. Where? Well, somewhere, of course.

The good:

1. New Mexico

In many parts of New Mexico, commercial buildings and all new houses larger than 2,500 square feet must have cisterns in place to capture rainwater. Smaller dwellings must have rain barrels or other such capture systems.

2. Arizona

Live in Scottsdale? Did you know the state offers income-tax credit to cover ¼ of the cost of your rainwater-capture system? Up to $1,000! For more info, check this out here.

March 11, 2009 - 1:30am
submit to reddit