SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The Utah Division of Water Resources has sent out the reminder that Utahns are allowed to collect rainwater, but only so much of it without first registering the barrels with the State of Utah.
Under Utah law, Utah residents can collect two 100-gallon covered storage containers of rainwater without registering with the state. Anyone seeking to collect more than the allowed 200 gallons need to register with the Utah Division of Water Rights. Once registered and approved, residents would be able to collect and store up to 2,500 gallons of rainwater.
While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) doesn’t recommend drinking rainwater, or using it for cooking, brushing your teeth, or watering edible garden plants, it could be used for other things. The CDC says rainwater can be used to conserve water resources and using it for watering plants you don’t plan to eat or lawns, cleaning cars, bikes, and other things.
According to the Utah Division of Water Resources, collecting rainwater was previously illegal due to laws established to protect water resources in the arid state. The laws, which were used to protect rivers and streams even if they should pass through a resident possible, were written in such a way that they extended to rainwater as well.
S.B. 32, which passed Utah legislation in 2010, alleviated those restrictions, allowing Utah residents to collect rainwater legally without having to register, under certain conditions.
The Utah Rivers Council said it is estimated that 15,000 to about 23,000 gallons of rainwater falls on a Salt Lake County house between spring and fall. Utah River Council says harvesting rainwater is a cost-effective way to conserve large amounts of water, which is encouraged to make lasting use of last winter’s historic snowpack.
In fact, across the West, rainwater recycling is a new trend that has only become legal within the last decade or so. In Nevada, rainwater recycling for certain purposes became legal in 2017. In California, it was made legal in 2012. Arizona also made collecting rainwater legal in 2012, and some towns such as Tucson offer rebates of up to $2,000 for setting up rainwater harvesting systems.
While Utah doesn’t offer any rebates for collecting rainwater, the state is part of the list of the growing trend.