Is Collecting Rain Water Illegal in Florida?

illegal-rain-water-collectionEarlier this week we posted an article on collecting rain water. Much to our surprise, we got emails from Florida residents asking if it is illegal to collect rain water in our state.

We thought the question was a little crazy at first, just because it had never dawned on us that it might ever be illegal to collect rain water. However, after doing some research we did discover that there are some laws that make it illegal to collect rain water in some states.

For example, one Oregon resident was sentenced to 30 days in jail and paid a $1,500 fine after collecting rain water on his land. You can read the full story here.

There are several states where rain collection is restricted or illegal. It’s totally illegal, for example, in Oregon and Utah.

Some states require a permit before you can collect rain water. Laws are also changing in some states, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a thorny legal issue for some homeowners.

Some states swing in the opposite direction. In some states, certain types of new builds have to have rainwater collection systems, and some states even offer tax incentives to homeowners who adopt them.

Learning these things prompted us to double check Florida’s laws. Fortunately for Florida homeowners who want to collect rain water, we could not find any laws or statutes on the books.

However, every county is different, and the law does have nuances. For example, some counties have restrictions on how you may use the rain water or how you need to treat it.

The place to start is your county health department. To help our readers we’ve gathered up links for the health departments in each of the counties that we serve.

In addition to following health department requirements we do urge you to be safe when you are using your rainwater catchment system. Rainwater should usually be used as grey water for plants, not as potable drinking water.

Finally, remember that we’re not lawyers – we’re gutter contractors! Laws also do change so to be on the safe side if you’re going to collect rain water, check with your city and county officials first!


  1. Dave says:

    I’ve spent the past year researching the “legality” of rain water harvesting. So far I have personally checked 35 state government websites and the rules thereof. There are 0, that is no states in the US where it is “against the law” to collect rain water as a general state law. I have seen Utah, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado change their laws in favor of rain water harvesting. There may very well be local ordinances that prohibit rain barrels, but that is the exception, not the rule. Colorado is the last holdout of archaic laws regarding rain and water rights. Those laws are not based on modern science. My blog has links to every state government I have checked and also links to others research of the info on the 15 states I have yet to check. There are lots of regulations regarding water in every state, Also if a person wants to set up their own private lake, of course there will be issues and laws. But that is yet another issue.

  2. Todd Dudkewic says:

    Thanks for the excellent and relevant link!

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