Rainwater is a precious resource, and not just for rehydrating nature. People have been collecting rainwater for millennia as a source of water for drinking and irrigation. It’s especially useful in areas that have limited access to freshwater sources or are subject to drought conditions regularly.
But, sadly, some states have seen fit to restrict rainwater collecting, even outlaw it! Is Louisiana one of them? Is it illegal to collect rainwater in Louisiana?
No, it is not illegal to collect rainwater in Louisiana. Louisiana law is highly lenient on the usage of harvested rainwater for personal purposes. However, local laws might be more restrictive than the state laws.
Anytime the government decides to keep out of the people’s business, that is a good thing. You won’t run into many hang-ups at the state level if you want to install a raincatcher in Louisiana, but there’s more to know before you get started.
Keep reading and I will tell you all about the legality of rainwater collection in Louisiana…
Is Collection of Rainwater Illegal at the State Level in Louisiana?
No. Collection of rainwater for personal use is not illegal in Louisiana at the state level. However, the state does have some health code regulations in place to ensure the safety and quality of rainwater collected for consumption.
For example, if a Louisiana resident is collecting rainwater for potable purposes (intent to consume), the water must be treated before consumption to eliminate harmful bacteria.
Is Collection of Rainwater Illegal at the County Level?
No, not in any county I found performing research for this article. At the county level, the legality of rainwater collection in Louisiana can vary, though.
Some counties may have tight regulations surrounding rainwater harvesting or the installation of systems while others may have little to no restrictions.
That means you will want to check with their county or city government to determine if rainwater collection is permissible and what other requirements there are (e.g. design specs, permitting, inspection, etc.).
Under What Conditions Can Citizens Collect Rainwater in Louisiana?
You can collect rainwater whenever you want in Louisiana so long as it is raining, and you are following all applicable state and local laws. However, the collection system may not interfere with the water rights of others.
Water rights are an important concept in all states, and especially important in LA. If, somehow, you were able to collect enough rainwater that it interfered with someone else’s rightful claim to their water you would be in violation of the law.
Consider also that if someone could make a reasonable claim that that was indeed occurring, you could be facing a civil suit just the same!
One more thing: note that some homeowners’ associations (HOAs) have restrictive covenants on the use of rainwater collection systems, to say nothing of the installation, so individuals should check with their HOA first thing if you have one.
Is There a Limit on How Much Rainwater You Can Collect in Louisiana?
Not under state law. There are currently no limits on how much rainwater you can collect for personal use in Louisiana. This means that citizens are free to collect as much rainwater as they need or want so long as it does not interfere with the rights of others.
Keep in mind, however, that this is subject to change on a county-by-county basis, and it would be wise to check with local authorities to ensure you aren’t facing capacity restrictions or net-total restrictions when collecting rainwater.
What Does Louisiana Allow Citizens to Use Rainwater For?
Louisiana State law permits the use of harvested rainwater for any legal purpose. Typically, this means non-potable purposes: irrigation, cleaning, washing cars, firefighting, etc.
Additionally, for residential purposes, rainwater can be used for flushing toilets or as industrial water.
Now, while there’s nothing that explicitly prevents you from using rainwater as drinking water, you should know that doing so is probably A.) regulated by local health codes and other laws B.) not safe.
While most people think rainwater is about as pure as it gets for water in nature, this is not the case: rainwater can carry pollutants from the atmosphere, as well as contaminants from collection surfaces (like roofs and gutters).
Your rainwater will certainly contain bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens, and possibly heavy metals.
As a result, if you are intent on using rainwater for potable purposes you should ensure that it is treated to eliminate any and all microorganisms before consumption.
Does Louisiana Require Special Equipment or Inspection for Rainwater Collection?
No, not generally. Louisiana State only requires installation permits for rainwater harvesting systems that are used for commercial purposes. For residential systems, there is no permit required. At the local level, you might well need to get permitted to put in a system.
Also depending on your locality, you might need to follow plumbing and building codes for rainwater collection systems.
This typically involves the installation of appropriate filters and valves, as well as tanks and other equipment. All of this may need to be done under the supervision of a licensed plumber!
Additionally, some counties and towns may require regular third-party inspections for such systems in order to ensure that everything is up to code.
Does Louisiana Offer Incentives for Rainwater Collection?
At this time, there are no specific state-level incentives offered in Louisiana for the installation and use of rainwater harvesting systems.
However, some local governments may offer incentives like tax cuts or equipment rebates for folks who install a rainwater collection system. This is most likely in coastal areas and any area that has trouble dealing with stormwater inundation.
Bottom Line: Is Louisiana a Good State for Rainwater Collection?
Yes, Louisiana is a good state for rainwater harvesting, as there are no state-level restrictions on the collection and use of rainwater for personal purposes.
You won’t have the state to deal with, and even though you will always have to contend with local laws and codes you can say the same thing about every state.
The good news, and worth noting, is that Louisiana is known for its frequent and heavy rainfall, which means you will easily collect large amounts of rainwater on a regular basis, making Louisiana one of the most “reliable” states for raincatching.
You will rarely find a better place for off-grid water than The Pelican State!
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.