Overturn Bans on Rainwater Collection


Target: Tom Vilsack, Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture

Goal: Overturn rainwater collection bans throughout the United States

Some state governments have prohibited the collection of rainwater, not due to health concerns, but because that rain supposedly belongs to someone else. Several western states have placed restrictions on residents who try to collect rainwater for personal use on their own properties. Overturn bans on rainwater collection on private property, and let residents take control of their own conservation.

A study in Douglas County, Colorado suggested that although allowing people to collect rainwater on their properties actually improves conservation, it also reduces their demand from government and privately-owned water facilities. This is not an issue about the environment; it’s an issue about control.

A man in Eagle Point, Oregon was given a 30-day jail sentence after building reservoirs on his own private property to collect rainwater.  Prosecutors claimed that he was in violation of the state law that says all water is publicly owned. A battle over what amount of rainwater could be collected under various permits ensued, but the government won in the end.

Neither the government nor private water facility companies can claim that rainwater is their exclusive possession. Rainwater is a part of nature, and homeowners have just as much of a right to it as companies and agencies do. To learn more about rainwater harvesting laws in your state, check out the statutes and programs reported by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Sign the below petition to support homeowners who wish to collect rainwater on their properties without undue government interference.


Dear Secretary Vilsack,

Rainwater is not a possession of the federal government, state governments, or private water facility companies. Rainwater is a product of nature, and homeowners have just as much right to collect on their properties as anyone does. Oregon, Colorado, Utah, Texas, and Ohio are just a few of the states that have collection restrictions on using rainwater for outdoor uses, plumbing, and even consumption.

Rainwater harvesting has the potential to conserve dwindling resources and preserve limited water supplies for the future. If homeowners wish to collect rainwater on their own properties, it is their responsibility to ensure that it is safe for their own use. I am urging you to work with state leaders to overturn bans on rainwater collection on private property.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Taran Rampersad via Flickr

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  1. Hey government, you do not own everything. Our rain is God given to us. get over yourselves. What falls or is on my land naturally is mine not yours, matter of fact if I made, bought, placed, own. Cultivate etc. IT BELONGS TO ME AND MINE. NOT THE GOVERNMENT, PERIOD.

  2. Bruce Coe’s Facebook comment above is right on. A rooftop is an impervious surface that has replaced a natural surface, thus INCREASING runoff from that surface, and this INCREASE in runoff is not water that is owed to downstream water rights holders. What building-scale rainwater harvesting actually does is increase the efficiency of converting rainfall into a water supply usable by humans, since the conversion efficiency is MUCH higher in a building-scale system than it is in the watershed-scale rainwater harvesting systems that compose all of our conventional water supply systems. So, as Bruce stated, that is a very different situation than the one where the man built a reservoir to retain ground-level runoff. Your failure to understand the distinction bodes ill for your efforts, I fear.

  3. Unbelievable greed and cretinous stupidity.

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