If you want to be really prepared for natural disasters, droughts and the slow but certain and ongoing collapse of our civic infrastructure, you need to get ready with your own off-grid source of water. A well is fine but even these can break down.
Rain catchers won’t, and with a good rain collection system and a heavy passing shower you can instantly have dozens, hundreds or even thousands of gallons of water on tap. But, some places throughout the nation actually regulate, even ban, the practice.
Is Nebraska one of them? Is it illegal to collect rainwater in Nebraska?
No, collecting rainwater is not illegal in Nebraska. Nebraska has essentially no laws or regulations concerning the practice at the state level. Residents might still have to contend with local laws and codes, however.
The good news is that the state of Nebraska does not care one way or the other if you harvest rainwater and neither do they care what you do with it.
Assuming your town or county doesn’t have any major restrictions or impediments concerning the process, you can set up just about any kind of rainwater collection system you want.
There are a few other concerns you should be aware of, though, and I will tell you all about them and the rest of this article…
Is Collection of Rainwater Illegal at the State Level in Nebraska?
No, collecting rainwater is not illegal at the state level. Currently, there are no state laws governing or regulating the use or collection of rainwater by residents in Nebraska.
This means that it is legal to collect rainwater as far as state authorities are concerned.
Is Collection of Rainwater Illegal at the County Level?
No. While there are no state laws in place that prohibit the collection of rainwater, it is possible for counties and municipalities in Nebraska to have their own regulations and restrictions on rainwater harvesting.
This might entail provisions on site selection, system type and installation (permitting) or even the amount of water you are allowed to store.
It’s important to research the specific codes and laws in your county or city before buying or setting up a rainwater harvesting system, as you might wind up being fined or even charged if you don’t.
Under What Conditions Can Citizens Collect Rainwater in Nebraska?
Rainwater harvesting is legal in Nebraska, and citizens can collect rainwater at pretty much any time for any purpose as long as it does not violate other existing state laws or guidelines set by their county or municipality.
It is possible that some local or state officials could, at some point, place a stoppage on rainwater collection in times of drought, wildfire threat, or other emergencies, so you should keep an eye on the news and bulletins for any changes.
And, as stated before, don’t assume your local laws and usage allowances are the same as the state’s laws, or lack thereof.
Is There a Limit on How Much Rainwater You Can Collect in Nebraska?
None on the books, no. Not at the state level anyway. Again, counties and cities may have their own regulations regarding the size of the rainwater harvesting system that can be used or the amount of rainwater that can be collected over time or at any one point.
What Does Nebraska Allow Citizens to Use Rainwater For?
In Nebraska, collected rainwater can be used for any purpose so long as it doesn’t violate other laws. Generally, harvested rainwater is used for garden and lawn irrigation, household cleaning, and flushing toilets.
But it can also be used as an emergency source of drinking water when times are tough, though untreated it is considered non-potable.
One thing to keep in mind is that untreated rainwater might not be allowed for drinking depending on health codes in your area.
On the practical side of things, unless rainwater falls straight into a sterile container, you’ll want to filter and disinfect it before using for anything other than outdoor/non-potable applications.
Rainwater will collect all sorts of contaminants from surfaces it touches, including gross stuff like dust, dirt, shingle particles, insect carcasses, live insects, and animal droppings, so you’ll want to do things right before you drink it.
Just because the state isn’t forcing you, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t implement better practices!
Does Nebraska Require Special Equipment or Inspection for Rainwater Collection?
None mandated at the state level. Once again, check those local laws, too. Don’t forget HOAs if you have one. In all cases, don’t skimp on a properly designed and installed rainwater harvesting system.
Leaks and contamination can be ruinous to your goals, and it could end up being a waste of money and water in the long run if not done right.
Does Nebraska Offer Incentives for Rainwater Collection?
No, Nebraska does not offer any incentives for raincatching. Do be sure to call your local utility provider (if you have one) and also hit up the local townships and other authorities to check for tax rebates, incentives for system installation and more.
They are out there, but many of them aren’t even advertised, and since Nebraska does not make a big deal of rainwater harvesting, there are likely many more incentives available at the local level that you won’t find publicized.
Bottom Line: Is Nebraska a Good State for Rainwater Collection?
Overall, Nebraska is a good state for rainwater collection, and great if you think the lack of legal meddling is the prime consideration.
Nebraska doesn’t have any state-level laws regulating or promoting the practice of rainwater harvesting, and so long as you don’t violate some other laws pertinent to its collection and use, you can do whatever you want.
Yes, some municipalities may have specific regulations in place, and some counties may have their own restrictions on the size of the rainwater collection system that can be used, but that’s it outside of a rogue HOA getting in your way.
You can get a lot of water from a collection system in Nebraska; it isn’t the rainiest state but it does get plenty of precipitation over the year. A well-designed system can keep you in more water than you are likely to use!
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.