As the effects of climate change, crumbling civil infrastructure and societal unrest continue to intensify, many people are turning towards more sustainable methods of collecting and conserving the resources they need.
Among these resources, water is paramount. Accordingly, methods for collecting rainwater are becoming increasingly popular throughout the land.
However, in certain parts of the United States the legality of collecting rainwater is debatable. It sounds unthinkable, but it is true; your state might consider that that water falling from the sky to belong to them!
How about Indiana? Is it illegal to collect rainwater in Indiana?
No, rainwater collection is not illegal in Indiana. The practice is broadly legal, though local regulations might apply to systems or use practices. There are few guidelines or laws one way or the other in the state.
If you live in Indiana, the good news is you won’t be fined or get in trouble for collecting your own rainwater, typically.
However, it’s still important to stay informed about local regulations and adjust your plan accordingly before you begin.
In the rest of this article, I’ll tell you more about what you need to know of the laws, or lack thereof, surrounding rainwater collection in Indiana, and how you should approach the practice.
Is Collection of Rainwater Illegal at the State Level in Indiana?
No, it’s not illegal to collect rainwater in Indiana at the state level. In fact, the state has no specific regulations against it or for it!
Citizens in Indiana are generally free to collect and use rainwater for any non-potable purposes, such as watering plants and lawns, washing cars, and other outdoor activities.
However, certain local regulations may apply to folks who collect rainwater for potable purposes, even privately, such as for drinking as well as any public or business use.
In such cases, residents have to comply with the Indiana State Department of Health Drinking Water Branch’s regulations and may need to obtain proper permits.
The only possible areas of concern where the state might step in on the matter are the rare cases where water rights could be in conflict over collection.
The law broadly views homeowners as the rightful owners of the precipitation that falls on their property, and they have the right to collect it within the confines of the legal regulations.
However, the line between collecting enough for personal use and negating neighbors’ access to water via precipitation through problematic collection remains unclear.
Is Collection of Rainwater Illegal at the County Level?
Yes, broadly. While collecting rainwater is totally legal at the state level, counties and municipalities have the right to regulate the practice if needed and might do so.
Though I was unable to find any specific county laws on the matter, it is a possibility as the county or municipal level.
Therefore, it’s vital to check with your local authorities to ensure compliance with any relevant guidelines and avoid potential penalties BEFORE you purchase and install any rain catching system!
In counties where such regulations exist, expect guidelines on size of tanks, placement, connections and so forth.
Under What Conditions Can Citizens Collect Rainwater in Indiana?
For pretty much any purpose at any time, barring local emergency declarations or other events in extremis.
In Indiana, citizens can certainly collect rainwater whenever they want for non-potable use. Private potable use is likewise unregulated so long as connections aren’t made from raincatching systems to any public supply.
As mentioned before, individuals who collect rain for potable use may be subject to use rules under the Indiana State Department of Health Drinking Water Branch.
Also, county and local regs might well impose restrictions on collection timetables, quantity kept on hand, and more. Double-check before you start!
Is There a Limit on How Much Rainwater You Can Collect in Indiana?
The State of Indiana has no specific limitations placed on how much rainwater an individual can collect.
It is worth emphasizing that, while Indiana law has no specific limit on rainwater harvesting, some counties may govern how much you can keep on hand and in how many containers.
What Does Indiana Allow Citizens to Use Rainwater For?
Indiana broadly allows citizens to collect and use rainwater for non-potable purposes, which means collected water not used for drinking.
Non-potable purposes include watering plants and lawns, washing cars, filling swimming pools or ponds (sometimes), and other outdoor activities.
In Indiana, there are no specific state regulations on the use of collected rainwater for private potable purposes, but as noted, some counties may have specific regulations in place and rainwater cannot be used for public potable purposes.
Once again, always check with your local authorities to see what regulations and requirements surround rainwater collection and use practices in your town.
Does Indiana Require Special Equipment or Inspection for Rainwater Collection?
Indiana state law doesn’t require citizens to use specific equipment or devices when collecting rainwater.
County law might differ, but in all cases decisoning regarding hardware and connections is typically based of the Indiana Administrative Code 675-IAC-16-1.4 which is itself based on the international plumbing code.
That said, in all cases, you are well advised to follow specific safety and maintenance guidelines for any rainwater harvester system of any size, such as ensuring the system remains free of debris and other contaminants.
Open storage containers will roll out the welcome mat for breeding mosquitoes and other critters, so it is best to store collected rainwater in sealed, opaque tanks or barrels.
Does Indiana Offer Incentives for Rainwater Collection?
Sadly no, at least not at the state level. Indiana doesn’t offer specific incentives to promote rainwater collection that I could find.
There are tax incentives, rebates, or other financial initiatives for citizens to collect rainwater in the state. They don’t even really encourage the practice like Florida or other states.
However, it is possible that some counties may offer individual incentives or rebate programs for those who invest in rain barrels or other rainwater harvesting devices, but I was once again unable to find any.
Some utility companies in other states offer incentives or rebates for water conservation and efficient landscaping efforts, so it’s worth checking with your local provider or authorities to see what incentives may be available.
Nonetheless, despite the lack of official incentives, the benefits of rainwater collection should serve as an incentive enough for you, and it will definitely save money on water bills, and help reduce reliance on municipal water supplies, especially during times of drought.
Bottom Line: Is Indiana a Good State for Rainwater Collection?
Indiana is a good state overall for rainwater collection. A lack of state regulation entirely and minimal local interference is always a good thing since such obstacles can be showstoppers in other states.
Also with an average annual rainfall of about 40 inches, you can maximize your return on investment in your equipment; even small systems aren’t cheap!
And as noted previously, the lack of official incentives is a bit of a bummer since this is a practice all governments should be encouraging, but all homesteaders and homeowners can benefit from rainwater collection thanks to reduced water bills, lower demand on municipal water supplies in times of trouble, and having a self-contained supply when other systems are down or compromised.
If you live in Indiana, you should definitely be catching rainwater!
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.