So, Is It Illegal To Collect Rainwater in Arizona?

I think by now most self-reliant folks are well aware of the importance of a good water supply in times of trouble. Maybe you’re worried about a drought, maybe you’re worried about the loss of service because of a natural or man-made disaster.

Whatever the case, water is a resource that you absolutely have to have, and not just for drinking.

flag of Arizona

One of the best ways to ensure you have lots of water on hand at all times is by installing a rainwater collection system, or rain catcher.

It is an ancient practice, but you might not be surprised to learn that some states have the temerity to regulate this activity, or even make it illegal.

How about Arizona? Is it illegal to collect rainwater in Arizona?

No, collecting rainwater is not illegal in Arizona. Though there are regulations in place, the process is greatly encouraged and some municipalities required. There are also rebates and tax incentives throughout the state for private and commercial use.

It just makes sense when you were talking about a place that is as hot and dry as Arizona.

Water is even more precious there, and it’s just good practice to make the best possible use of all available water that you can.

You might not get a lot of rain out in Arizona, but there is still a lot to recommend the installation of your own rainwater collection system.

Keep reading and I’ll tell you everything you need to know…

Is Collection of Rainwater Illegal at the State Level in Arizona?

No. Rainwater collection is not illegal at the state level in Arizona, though there are some rainwater regulations in place we will get into.

The state greatly encourages citizens to engage in rainwater collection for various purposes, but especially for non-potable purposes such as landscaping, watering crops, washing buildings and vehicles, and so on.

That said, the Arizona Department of Water Resources, or DWR, does provide oversight and guidelines for rainwater collection.

Most of these are minor, and you’ll have more to worry about at the local level (which we’ll look at in just a minute), but it’s still in your best interest to familiarize yourself with DWR policy.

Collecting rainwater illegal? | Laws in all 50 States

Is Collection of Rainwater Illegal at the County Level?

No. There is no county that I was able to locate in Arizona that outright bans the collection of rainwater.

However, in certain emergency circumstances, local authorities might temporarily halt the practice.

What you should be more concerned about is that several communities and municipalities around Arizona actually require rainwater collection, specifically Tucson and Flagstaff.

These apply most often to commercial and business applications with attendant mandates for collection, but in some cases it might apply to residences also.

Under What Conditions Can Citizens Collect Rainwater in Arizona?

Broadly speaking, you can collect rainwater whenever you want in Arizona, and you should! If it is raining, even for a short time, you definitely want to top off those tanks.

However, city and county laws might mandate collection schedules according to groundwater levels or other factors, so don’t take the lack of state oversight in this regard as gospel.

It is good policy to always check in with your local authorities so you can operate your rain-catching system within the bounds of the law.

Failure to do so might see you slapped with a fine, and potentially even criminal charges!

Is There a Limit on How Much Rainwater You Can Collect in Arizona?

No. There is no state-level limitation to how much rainwater you can harvest in Arizona. Once again, it seems that the state government’s attitude for citizen use is, the more the merrier!

Resources for citizens have pointed out explicitly before that a whole house rain-catching system connected to gutters fed from a typical 1,500 square foot roof can produce thousands of gallons of water with just a single, passing storm.

If you got the tankage, and it is legal according to your local codes and ordinances, they don’t mind a bit if you make use of it!

What Does Arizona Allow Citizens to Use Rainwater For?

Arizona law generally allows citizens to use rainwater for any non-potable purpose, such as the aforementioned washing of cars or buildings, landscaping, crops and other purposes that don’t involve drinking.

Although it’s not explicitly illegal to use captured rainwater privately for consumption, the practice is highly discouraged.

At no time can businesses or individuals use captured rainwater for potable purposes in public without rigorous standards for treatment and testing.

As always, if you want to use rainwater for any potable purpose you’ll want to rely on the typical sealed tank to keep bugs and critters out, a good filter, and a continuous sterilization system consisting of chemicals, UV light or both.

Be sure to check in with the Arizona DWR for more guidance.

Does Arizona Require Special Equipment or Inspection for Rainwater Collection?

No, not at the state level, although they recommend following all applicable plumbing code guidelines for system installation, specific components, containers, and connections.

This is one area where local codes and laws will likely come to the fore: County laws and even city or town laws are probably going to be significantly more specific on:

  • what kind of tanks you can install, where they must be located,
  • how they must be connected,
  • and what other components you must use to prevent cross-contamination of existing water supply lines or even above or below ground water sources.

The State of Arizona won’t interfere in this regard but you must do your homework and check those local regs before you pull the trigger on your own system, or the installation of that system!

Does Arizona Offer Incentives for Rainwater Collection?

Yes, and quite a few! The Arizona Department of Revenue offers various tax credits for water conservation systems they can add up to more than a $1,000.

Businesses have their own incentives. Municipalities offer water service rebates, tax credits and other incentives for the installation of systems and the proper use of reclaimed or harvested rainwater.

Out of all the states that encourage citizens to make use of rainwater collection systems, Arizona probably does the most to financially incentivize people to actually do it!

Considering that it’s an easy thing to set up in most places throughout the state, you really don’t have an excuse not to. Again, don’t forget to check for local rebates, too!

Bottom Line: Is Arizona a Good State for Rainwater Collection?

Absolutely! Arizona is one of the very best states when it comes to rainwater harvesting. This hot, dry land makes it so that all citizens should make the best possible use of all water, and that certainly includes rainwater.

This isn’t a state that gets a ton of rain every year, but spring and summer thunderstorms can be large, intense and real soakers meaning it is possible to fill up multiple tanks or even extra large tanks easily enough and make them last.

Read also: Rainwater Collection Laws in the US – An Overview

Though the state has regulations at the state level and most local levels for the implementation and use of raincatching systems, the vast majority of the time they are entirely logical and not burdensome.

Depending on where you live in the state, you might be legally obligated to install and make use of a rain collection system!

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