So, is it Illegal to Collect Rainwater in Missouri?

Water is one of the most crucial resources on our planet, and accordingly people have been collecting and using rainwater for thousands of years. However, in some states there are regulations on this common sense practice, or it is even illegal entirely. So, how about Missouri? Is it illegal to collect rainwater in Missouri?

flag of Missouri
flag of Missouri

No, it is not illegal to collect rainwater in Missouri as long as you aren’t breaking any other state or local laws. Though there are no state regulations on the practice, local laws and codes still apply and might affect your usage.

Definitely good news right up front. Some states have particularly onerous rainwater statutes, with hefty fines and penalties for collecting it without following their edicts to the letter. But you don’t have to worry about that in Missouri!

Even so, there is more to know before you start, so in this article I will tell you what you need to know when collecting rainwater in Missouri…

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

No, the collection of rainwater is not illegal at the state level in Missouri, and no specific regulations issued by the state government.

While many states have strict regulations around rainwater harvesting to protect public water supplies, Missouri is unique in that it generally encourages citizens to collect rainwater as a way to conserve water resources but does not give much guidance or restriction either way.

However, it is important to note that while rainwater collection is allowed in Missouri the practice cannot violate any other state or local laws, or infringe on the water rights of other residents.

Is Collection of Rainwater Illegal at the County Level?

No, to my knowledge no county in MO makes rainwater harvesting illegal outright. But it is possible for some counties or municipalities to impose their own regulations, standards and codes on the practice. In these cases, their guidelines are more stringent than what the state’s!

Therefore, before setting up a harvesting system, citizens should research local county and municipal regulations to ensure they are in compliance. In some cases, folks may need to obtain permits or meet certain requirements in order to legally install a rainwater collection system on their property, or to start collecting water.

It’s also worth noting that even if there are no specific regulations or permits required for raincatching systems specifically, you should still take care to install your system properly to ensure it complies with local building or plumbing codes.

Under What Conditions Can Citizens Collect Rainwater in Missouri?

In general, citizens in Missouri are allowed to collect rainwater at any time and for whatever reason they want, as long as all applicable laws are followed.

However, be prepared for local or state authorities to issue stoppages or temporary bans on the practice in times of drought, above- or below-ground water source depletion, wildfire risk, and more.

In some cases, local authorities may also restrict or limit the amount of water you are allowed to collect during these events. Not necessarily likely, but possible. More on that next…

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

No, there is no state standard or law regarding the amount of rainwater that can be collected by Missouri citizens. That said, once again local laws may impose limitations on how much water you can collect during a period of time or in total.

In these cases, it is important to abide by the laws and any lawful orders to avoid any potential fines or charges. If you’re unsure about what your county or municipality allows, it is best to contact local authorities in order to ensure you are within compliance.

What Does Missouri Allow Citizens to Use Rainwater For?

Missouri generally allows citizens to collect and use rainwater for non-potable purposes such as outdoor watering, flushing toilets, washing cars, and irrigating gardens.

It’s important to point out that while there is no state law saying the collected rainwater cannot be used as drinking water, it is also likely that doing so, without appropriate treatment to ensure it is safe for human consumption, will violate local and/or state health codes, and thus might be illegal.

And let’s talk shop here for one second: I know that nothing seems purer or safer than rainwater when considering a natural source of drinking water, but the reality of the situation says otherwise. Unless your rainwater fell straight from the sky into a sterile container, it isn’t all that clean. Collected rainwater will be full of debris like leaves, bird and mouse droppings, and bugs that can contain harmful germs. Safer than pond water, sure, but still a hazard.

Naturally, you should install an appropriate filtration and disinfection system if you plan on using collected rainwater for potable reasons, and research the various regulations and local ordinances on doing so in your town.

Does Missouri Require Special Equipment or Inspection for Rainwater Collection?

No. The State of Missouri doesn’t require citizens to use any specific equipment for rainwater collection.

Once again, local laws may and will likely vary, to include codes for installation, inspection, permitting and design. You will probably need to follow all the same building and plumbing codes that you would when installing any related equipment on your house.

Additionally, some insurance companies may require documentation of proper installation and maintenance of the system in order to cover any damage or liability claims related to the rainwater collection system.

Does Missouri Offer Incentives for Rainwater Collection?

Missouri currently does not offer any incentives for rainwater collection, despite the overall enthusiasm the government shows for getting citizens into the act.

While some other pro-collection states offer tax credits or other incentives for citizens to install their rainwater collection systems, Missouri has not yet implemented any.

This lack of incentives could be due to the fact that Missouri already has abundant water resources compared to other states, which may not make rainwater collection as urgent of a concern, practically, and more of a “green” initiative for political or ethical reasons.

Additionally, Missouri has a unique regulatory landscape that generally does not require specific permits or regulations for this practice.

However, don’t let this lack of incentives discourage you; it still has huge preparedness and financial benefits!

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

Oh yes. Despite the lack of incentives for rainwater collection, Missouri is a good state for this practice due to its generally supportive and unrestrictive regulatory environment.

While folks must be aware of local regulations and take precautions to ensure their system is installed to code and maintained properly, Missouri’s overall encouragement of rainwater collection combined with a lot of rain, yearly, makes this an appealing option for preppers or anyone looking to conserve water and maintain their own grid-down bulk water supply.

This is one state I think is true no-brainer for raincatching…

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