So, Is It Illegal To Collect Rainwater in Georgia?

One of the best things you can do to ensure you have plenty of water when you need it is to install a rainwater collection system on your property.

flag of the state of Georgia
flag of the state of Georgia

People have been gathering rainwater for thousands of years, and even a small system fed by nothing more than the roof of your house and the gutters can collect hundreds, even thousands of gallons of water a month.

But, as good an idea as this is some states have seen fit to regulate or even outlaw the practice.

Let’s look at Georgia. Is it illegal to collect rainwater in Georgia?

No, it isn’t illegal to collect rainwater in Georgia but there are state regulations to contend with. Systems must adhere to the Georgia Plumbing Code, and collected rainwater can only be used for non-potable purposes outdoors. However, the state does offer tax benefits for users.

Georgia is a surprisingly mixed bag when it comes to rainwater collection, but overall it’s a dependably good state.

You’ll have to put up with inspections, permitting and making sure your system adheres to both the Georgia plumbing code and any applicable local rainwater laws and codes.

You can only use your collective water outdoors, but it’s definitely possible to put in a seriously effective system if you want to. Keep reading and I’ll tell you all about it…

Collecting rainwater illegal? | Laws in all 50 States

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

No, the collection of rainwater is not illegal in Georgia at the state level. The opposite true, actually, as Georgia actively encourages the citizenry to set up rainwater harvesting systems for the purposes of conservation, and their efforts are especially energetic near the coast.

However, the state still institutes regulations on everything from what you can use your water for to what kind of system you can install, what it can be made from and more.

So while you’ll be able to set up a rain harvesting system on your property, almost certainly, you are going to have to jump through more than a few hoops.

Is Collection of Rainwater Illegal at the County Level?

No, or at least no county that I was able to find makes the collection of rainwater by citizens illegal outright. Like the state, most counties in Georgia encourage citizens to collect rainwater.

That being said, further complicating matters is the fact that some counties have their own additional codes, laws and standards for both the type of system that you can install, the installation process, and how much water you can store along with what you can use it for.

For instance, Fulton County (or rather the City of Atlanta) has adopted standards that allow folks to utilize rainwater for potable, drinking, purposes.

But, this comes with a bevy of other system requirements to prevent cross-contamination, and also a mandate for continual purification system installation.

That’s just one example; there are probably many others throughout the state. Whatever part of the state you live in, you’ll have to ensure you are keeping up with state-level law, and then also check in with your local authorities.

Under What Conditions Can Citizens Collect Rainwater in Georgia?

Citizens can collect rainwater at any time in the State of Georgia absent an emergency order or stoppage from local or state authorities.

This is only likely in times of extreme drought, fire hazard, and other similar circumstances but it is something to be aware of…

The trouble in Georgia is not the conditions you’re allowed to collect rainwater in, per se, but rather the entire process leading up to you actually being able to harvest it.

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

No, not at the state level. The State of Georgia doesn’t impose any limitations on the amount of water you can collect over a given period of time, or how much water you can have on hand.

That being said, any system that falls under the purview of the Georgia Plumbing Code, specifically Chapter 13, has specifications for the size of storage tank based on the type and overall capability of the system.

If your system is so affected, there might be a limit to the size of tank, or number of tanks, that you can legally install.

What Does Georgia Allow Citizens to Use Rainwater For?

Georgia is pretty strict in this regard: you can only use your harvested rainwater for non-potable purposes, outside of any exceptions instituted at the county or city level.

Non-potable basically means non-drinking purposes, so you can use your water for gardening, watering your crops, washing your car, pressure washing your house, and so forth.

Georgia also mandates at the state level that any such use must be outdoors, meaning you cannot bring rainwater in, and use it to flush toilets or for any other common purpose inside your home even if it is non-potable in nature.

Does Georgia Require Special Equipment or Inspection for Rainwater Collection?

Yes. Raincatching systems, technically referred to as non-potable water systems, most follow the guidelines and legal codes of the Georgia Minimum Standard Plumbing Code, itself based on the international plumbing code with a few modifications.

Chapter 13 will tell you everything you need to know about non-potable water systems and the specification for their design, installation and use.

For folks living in many places, this might well entail permitting and inspection. And don’t forget, this is just the state’s requirements; your county or municipal laws might be more stringent or just in addition to everything you have to do to meet the state standard.

Does Georgia Offer Incentives for Rainwater Collection?

Yes, happily! Georgia has instituted a state-level tax credit through House Bill 1069 they can provide a $2,500 incentive for any approved water efficiency installation or improvement.

Based on the wording of the law, private and residential rainwater collection systems should qualify for the tax credit, but you’ll have to talk to the Department of Revenue, plead your case, fill out the paperwork and then see if you actually wind up qualifying for it.

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

Georgia is, ultimately, what I would call a decent state for rainwater collection. I know this usually goes against my personal grain on the matter considering the sheer amount of laws and oversight on the subject within the state, but let me plead my case.

Yes, you’ll have to put up with red tape at the state and local level. Yes, if you are forced to adhere to the plumbing code that might go against your wishes for your personal installation.

Yes, you are limited to using it for non-potable purposes only. If you want to stay legal, of course…

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

But, it’s still totally achievable to install your raincatching system in Georgia, and not only might you qualify for a pretty substantial tax credit but you will certainly wind up with tons and tons of water from your system: Georgia is a pretty rainy state, and it’s entirely possible to harvest tens of thousands of gallons a year if you got the capacity.

That alone is a capability that no prepper can afford to be without.

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