Rainwater Harvesting Guide
Rainwater collection is a process of collecting, storing, and using rainfall for various uses. The harvested rainwater can be used for a variety of purposes, such as drinking water, irrigation, cleaning, or industrial processes.
Rainwater harvesting is a process of collecting and using stormwater runoff for beneficial purposes. This can be done by strategically positioning gutters, downspouts, and storage containers to intercept rainfall and direct it towards areas with vegetation or to catchment systems that store the water for later use.
What is rainwater harvesting?
Rainwater harvesting offers numerous benefits. It conserves municipal water resources, reduces flooding, and helps protect the environment from pollutants in runoff. Furthermore, collected rainwater can be used for various applications such as toilet flushing, pet and car washing, indoor plant watering, pet and livestock watering, and for lawn and garden irrigation.
There are many types of rainwater harvesting systems available, ranging from simple and inexpensive to complex and costly setups. Generally, these systems involve collecting and storing rainwater in above-ground containers like a barrel or plastic tanks. Doing so minimizes evaporation and keeps pests away from the water. In some cases, such as using direct rainfall to irrigate area plants, no additional equipment may be needed beyond some strategic harvesting setup.
Benefits of Rainwater Harvesting
Rainwater harvesting offers numerous benefits to the environment, people, and businesses. Some of the main advantages include:
- Reducing Water Waste: Harvesting rainwater reduces the amount of runoff from properties and helps direct the fresh water into more useful channels. This water is perfect for area gardens and landscapes and provides an inexpensive way to meet all outdoor water needs.
- Saving Money: Rainwater harvesting systems reduce water bills significantly since it allows individuals and companies to become more self-sufficient when it comes to water needs. The upfront cost of installing these systems is typically recouped in a few years due to the drastically reduced costs of using harvested water instead of municipal supplies.
- Abundance of Water: Rainwater harvesting systems enable users to access an abundance of clean rainwater without relying on running out of municipal supplies or experiencing water restrictions due to droughts.
- Reduced Stormwater Runoff: By directing rainwater away from streets and other paved surfaces, runoff pollution caused by chemicals and oils are greatly reduced.
- Improved Soil Health: As harvested rainwater replaces the need for chemical fertilizers, soil health is improved due to increased organic matter and fewer salt deposits.
Is Rainwater Harvesting Legal In Texas?
In the great state of Texas, rainwater collecting is not only legal but encouraged. The State government offers a sales tax exemption on purchases of rainwater harvesting equipment; simply presenting the valid sales docket is enough to qualify.
Homeowners may not be aware of their city or county’s by-laws regarding rainwater collection, as well as assume that a Home Owners’ Association (HOA) can legally prevent them from installing rain harvesting equipment on their property. This is not true, however – an HOA, city or county cannot stop you from harvesting rainwater, although there may be some guidelines around the type and size of equipment used. It is strongly advised to check with your local governing body before purchasing any equipment.
The use of rainwater harvesting systems has been encouraged by the state of Texas due to its environmental benefits. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) requires that harvested rainwater be non-potable and meet their standards in order to be approved for use. It is illegal to build an alternate water system without a permit, except in the case of rainwater harvesting systems which must have a maximum storage capacity of 360 gallons (1363 L). All outlets and components must be located outside the home.
Rainwater Collection in Houston
Owners of rainwater harvesting systems must inspect and test pumps, valves, pressure tanks, filters, and screens every three months; inspect and test cross-connections every 12 months; and keep a maintenance record for the system. An operation and maintenance manual must contain directions for operating and maintaining the system as well as information on water quality requirements from the city, county or state.
There are incentives for those who choose to harvest rainwater, such as exemptions of part or all of a property’s assessed value and exemptions from local property taxes. In addition, there is an exemption from state sales tax on harvesting equipment and supplies. Finally, there is a competition and recognition program called the Texas Rain Catcher Award which rewards excellence in the application of rainwater harvesting systems.
Austin Rainwater Harvesting
The City of Austin offers generous rebates to encourage residents to tap into the power of rainwater harvesting. Up to $5,000 is available for equipment that captures rainwater for non-potable uses, with the rebate amount depending on whether a pressurized or non-pressurized system is being installed. For non-pressurized systems, the rebate rate is $0.50 per gallon, and $1.00 per gallon for pressurized systems.
Austin is one example of a Texas city reaping the benefits of rain harvesting – for every inch of rainfall that falls on a 2,000-square-foot roof, around 1,000 gallons of water can be collected. This is especially beneficial given Austin’s average annual rainfall of 32 inches – equating to roughly 32,000 gallons of potential water!
When installing a potable rainwater system in the City of Austin, an RPZ valve must also be included as part of the setup. Harvest Rain provides all required system drawings for all City of Austin installations.
For those interested in taking advantage of these bountiful incentives, you can find more details and access the application form on the City’s website. Rainwater harvesting is an environmentally-friendly way to reduce residential water consumption, save money, and help protect the environment – don’t forget to take advantage of this great City offer!
Rainwater Collection in San Antonio
The City of San Antonio understands the importance of conserving water, and as such has made it easier and more financially accessible for businesses to install rainwater collection systems. Through the city’s rebate program, commercial, industrial, and institutional customers are eligible to receive money back on the installation and maintenance of these systems. The amount is calculated by multiplying acre-feet of water saved by a set value of $200 per acre-foot, up to 50% of the total cost. This incentivizes businesses to be conscientious about their consumption of water resources, which helps promote sustainability efforts in San Antonio.
If you’re looking to take advantage of the City of San Antonio’s Rainwater Rebate, there are some important details you need to know. To be eligible for the rebate, your rain tank must have a minimum storage capacity of 500 gallons. The maximum rebate is $2,000 per tank, with a rate of $1.00 per gallon of storage. Furthermore, any tanks larger than 1,000 gallons must be registered with the San Antonio Water System (SAWS). Additionally, if you are installing a potable rainwater system in the city, an RPZ valve must also be installed.
San Antonio’s Rainsaver Custom Rebate is designed to help residents conserve water and lower their bills by collecting and storing rainwater for use in their homes and gardens. With the right setup, this rebate program can provide significant cost savings in addition to environmental benefits.
San Marcos Rainwater Harvesting
Residents of San Marcos are invited to take advantage of the city’s rainwater rebate program. This program offers a sizable financial incentive for those interested in installing non-pressurized or pressurized rainwater systems at their homes or businesses.
Under this program, residents can benefit from a $0.50 rebate per gallon saved in non-pressurized systems and $1.00 per gallon in pressurized systems, up to 50% of the total system cost. Rebates can be as large as $20,000 depending on the size of the water meter. For residential customers with standard 5/8 by 3/4 inch water meter sizes, the maximum rebate amount is $5,000.
If you’re considering installing a rainwater system, we encourage you to visit our website for complete details about the rebate program and to download an application form. Don’t miss out on this excellent opportunity to save money and help conserve vital water resources.
In what states is it illegal to collect rainwater?
Rainwater collection is legal in all states across the United States, with Colorado’s ban lifted as recently as 2016. Those living in Colorado should take note of local restrictions when harvesting rainwater. In general, as long as rainwater is collected on privately owned property, citizens can access this valuable natural resource without issue. With more states relaxing laws regarding the use and conservation of rainwater, there are now more opportunities than ever to collect it for personal use and benefit.
States across the United States have restrictions on rainwater harvesting, as this precious resource is often limited. Arkansas allows for the collection of rainwater but requires it to be designed by a licensed engineer and that it abides by all state and county plumbing codes. In Colorado, recent laws lifted the long-standing ban on residential barrels, allowing two with a combined capacity of 110 gallons that must have sealable lids and not be used for drinking purposes. In Illinois, Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act regulations must be followed, while Oregon applies restrictions to roof surface systems and encourages Portland residents to save the rain through its Clean River Rewards program. Lastly, Utah allows for up to 2,500 gallons of collected rainwater at a time but requires registration with the Division of Water Resources. It’s important to note that these regulations may change over time, so it’s important to stay informed of your local area’s current rules and guidelines.