Every pepper knows that having access to adequate water supplies is important not only for disaster preparation, but also for instances where your usual civil supplies become contaminated or cut off entirely. One of the best ways to do this while staying totally off grid is to install a rain collection system.
Rain collecting has been done by people since time immemorial, but one thing you might not expect is that some states have actually strictly regulated collecting rainwater. What about Mississippi? Is it illegal to collect rainwater in Mississippi?
No, it is not illegal to collect rainwater in Mississippi. The state of Mississippi generally encourages citizens to conserve water when and how they are able, and there are no state laws against the practice.
Considering how much rain Mississippi typically gets in a year, this is a great thing for residents.
A little bit of ingenuity and some upfront expense for installing your system could provide you with hundreds, even thousands of gallons of water a month from rain alone.
But there are other considerations you’ll want to keep in mind before you embark on this project, so keep reading and I’ll tell you what they are…
Is Collection of Rainwater Illegal at the State Level in Mississippi?
No, the collection of rainwater is not illegal at the state level in Mississippi. The State of Mississippi typically encourages folks to conserve water however they can, and supports the collection of rainwater for various purposes.
However, in doing so you must still be sure that your collection and use of the rain water doesn’t violate any other state laws and that you do not encroach on the water rights of any other resident.
Is Collection of Rainwater Illegal at the County Level?
No, or at least there is no county that I could find that explicitly bans the practice of rainwater collection.
But on that topic you can rest assured that you will still have to obey and abide by various county laws and codes concerning the installation and the use of your rainwater collection system.
Typically, this might entail permitting, inspections, sign offs and various regulations on the size of the tanks you can install or potentially even how much water you can have on hand, though this is uncommon.
Under What Conditions Can Citizens Collect Rainwater in Mississippi?
Mississippi is one of several states in the United States that doesn’t have any state-wide regulations on rainwater harvesting, and that means citizens can collect rain pretty much under all circumstances.
But, this can only be done as long as it doesn’t violate any other state or county laws, and so long as it does not infringe on the water rights of others.
If your collection of rainwater were to, somehow, encroach another citizen’s access to their rightful claim on water, then your collection could be illegal.
Is There a Limit on How Much Rainwater You Can Collect in Mississippi?
There isn’t any state-imposed limit on how much rainwater citizens can collect in Mississippi.
But once again, local county or city laws just might! In some cases, there might be a limit on the size of the container or number of containers (often called cisterns) used to store the rainwater or the amount of water that can be collected in total or over a period of time.
These laws will vary from county to county, and though Mississippi is very permissive on this topic, you’re still responsible for checking with local authorities before setting up a system.
It is also a possibility that emergency declarations (drought, wildfire, etc.) might see local or state officials issue stop orders or restrictions on rainwater collection, but such instances would certainly be rare.
Finally, if you’re collecting rainwater for any kind of commercial use then you must check with the Department of Environmental Quality and get the appropriate permits before you can begin operations.
What Does Mississippi Allow Citizens to Use Rainwater For?
Mississippi State law allows citizens to use rainwater for pretty much any purpose. Rainwater collected from roofs can be used for watering gardens, landscaping, washing cars, and flushing toilets.
It can also be used for non-potable industrial purposes such as cooling machinery or equipment. Ostensibly it’s also legal to use it privately for drinking water, but this is where things might get tricky.
The use of your rainwater, even when collected legally, is still subject to local and some state-level health codes.
If health codes concerning drinking water quality are not met, you might be forced to stop using your water for that purpose.
Looking strictly at the practical side of the issue, rainwater harvested from a roof or any other surface will be full of solid contaminants like dust and dirt, along with insect corpses and animal feces, so you will definitely want to filter it at the minimum before drinking.
Another thing, older Mississippi structures are somewhat notorious for the presence of lead flashing and other materials containing lead and various other heavy metals: this stuff will leach into rainwater!
If you plan on using rainwater for human or animal consumption, it’s important to ensure that your system is setup with filtration and purification methodology in mind.
Does Mississippi Require Special Equipment or Inspection for Rainwater Collection?
No, Mississippi doesn’t require any special equipment or inspections for rainwater collection.
That said, you should expect local plumbing and building codes to apply, especially in suburban and urban areas. This might entail a permitting process and inspections.
If you have any doubt about your ability to interpret codes or accomplish the install to spec, consult with a trustworthy system installer or a licensed plumber for guidance.
Does Mississippi Offer Incentives for Rainwater Collection?
No. The state generally encourages citizens to harvest rainwater as a sustainable and cost-effective way to meet their water needs, but offers no incentives one way or the other.
But depending on where you live your town or county might offer incentives or rebates for rainwater collection, and utility companies might offer a reduction on your water bill if you use the harvested rainwater for non-potable purposes. This can lead to significant cost savings over time.
Bottom Line: Is Mississippi a Good State for Rainwater Collection?
Mississippi is a roundly excellent state for rainwater collection. The lack of state meddling means citizens are free to collect rainwater without any major interference, though it’s still important to check with local authorities before setting up your system.
There might be county or city regulations that regulate rainwater collection to look out for.
Considering that Mississippi gets more than 57 inches of rain annually, it’s certainly a great place to go off-grid with your water supply and save money.
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.