Humans have been collecting rain for ages, and for good reasons. Whether it’s used for drinking water or for irrigation, having plenty of water on hand is the only way you’ll make it through a drought or some other disaster.
But of course, in our own era, some state governments have seen fit to regulate, even outlaw the practice. Sadly, that isn’t even as shocking as it should be.
What we need to know is if rainwater is legal in the state we reside in. How about Iowa? Is it illegal to collect rainwater in Iowa?
No, it’s not illegal to collect rainwater in Iowa. The state of Iowa generally encourages good conservation practices, and rainwater collection is a part of that. There are no state restrictions on rain catching, but local laws and codes might have an impact.
There is really not much to complain about concerning the state of Iowa’s regulations on rainwater collection because they’re really aren’t any.
Other related laws and health code guidelines might apply, but the state isn’t going to roadblock your installation or use of a rain catcher.
Keep reading and I will tell you everything else you need to know…
Is Collection of Rainwater Illegal at the State Level in Iowa?
No, the collection of rainwater is not illegal at the state level in Iowa. The Iowa State government has not instituted any specific laws or regulations on the practice of rainwater harvesting.
This is good news for Iowa residents who want to collect and use rainwater for their own purposes, as there are no legal restrictions to worry about…
While there might not be any specific regulations on raincatching in Iowa, you still must follow and obey all related codes and laws that might apply.
This could be something like state health codes, or the water rights of others. We’ll talk more about each of these in the appropriate sections.
Is Collection of Rainwater Illegal at the County Level?
No, broadly speaking. But there might be county or municipal regulations on the practice that could affect your install or use cases. Therefore, it is essential to check with local authorities before starting to collect rainwater.
In some instances, counties or municipalities might have guidelines on how rainwater should be collected, stored, and used.
There might be limitations on the amount of water that can be collected, the size of water storage containers, and other limitations that must be followed.
Specifically at the local level, you should investigate all building and plumbing codes and regulations that could apply to your installation.
This is especially true if you plan on connecting your rainwater collection system directly to plumbing fixtures in your home or a garden irrigation system.
Under What Conditions Can Citizens Collect Rainwater in Iowa?
Citizens of Iowa can collect rainwater under any conditions, as the state has no specific regulations on the practice.
This means that homeowners are free to collect rainwater for their own purposes any time it is raining- since Iowa gets nearly 3 feet of rain yearly, you’ll get plenty of opportunities!
But once again, it is always a good idea to check with your local agencies and officials to ensure that you’re not breaking any relevant guidelines or restrictions: there could be rules for when you collect, or rather not collect rainwater.
Typically this will be in times of extreme drought, during heightened risk of or ongoing wildfires, and other emergencies where authorities would want every drop available to improve the situation.
Also, the biggest “maybe” concerning your right to collect rainwater is where it butts up against others’ water rights: if you are somehow collecting so much that it affects nearby properties, this could be an issue the state or local leaders might investigate further.
Is There a Limit on How Much Rainwater You Can Collect in Iowa?
No, not at the state level. Iowa doesn’t have any laws concerning how much rainwater as you can collect with any kind of system.
Ostensibly, Iowa citizens are free to collect as much water as they want for their own personal use without worrying about breaking the law.
And you already know what I am going to say next: be aware that there might be county or municipal ordinances regulating the amount of water that can be collected, or the size of storage containers!
What Does Iowa Allow Citizens to Use Rainwater For?
Iowa citizens are free to use rainwater for a variety of purposes, non-potable and probably potable also.
There are no specific guidelines on what rainwater can be used for, so homeowners can collect definitely use it for any non-potable uses, such as irrigation, landscaping, and washing cars or outdoor equipment.
But I say “probably” as it relates to potable, or drinking, purposes because state and local health codes might well apply to such a use, even though the state law doesn’t explicitly cite and forbid the use.
In any case, you should keep in mind that while rainwater is generally safe to use for any non-potable tasks, it is not recommended for drinking without proper treatment!
Rainwater collected from any surface, including your roof or a standalone catchment surface, will be absolutely full of things you don’t want to ingest, things like dirt, pollution, insects, animal poop, and other debris.
All of this stuff either harbors dangerous germs or is overtly harmful, and you don’t want to drink it. As a result, the rainwater should definitely be filtered and disinfected before it is consumed unless you have no other choice.
Be especially mindful of local health codes on this matter!
Does Iowa Require Special Equipment or Inspection for Rainwater Collection?
No. There is no state requirement concerning design, setup or connection. But local building and plumbing codes, zoning laws and more will probably be a factor, so look into all of them, and don’t forget to check on the necessity of permits, if required.
Does Iowa Offer Incentives for Rainwater Collection?
Iowa currently does not offer any incentives or financial benefits at the state level, even though Iowa encourages its citizens to engage in environmentally sustainable practices such as rainwater harvesting.
You might get lucky and find local tax breaks, equipment incentives and more if you look. Be sure to check with your water company, if you have one; many in other states offer rebates for the use of rainwater for non-potable purposes.
Despite this general lack of financial bennies, there are many worthwhile practical and financial benefits to harvesting rainwater on your own dime, so do keep your eyes on the prize if considering the installation of a system in Iowa.
Bottom Line: Is Iowa a Good State for Rainwater Collection?
Overall, Iowa is a dependably good state for rainwater collection. Iowa residents are free to collect and use rainwater without any specific legal restrictions at the state level, and the state actively encourages rainwater harvesting.
You’ll only need to check and adhere to local regulations on the installation of your system, and collection and use of the water.
Considering the ample amount of rainwater that Iowa receives, and the state’s support for the practice of rainwater harvesting, you should definitely consider utilizing this sustainable and environmentally friendly practice if you live there!
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.