If you are in any way concerned with being prepared for disasters and tough times, you already know how important it is to have a large supply of water on hand in case your usual supply is contaminated or disrupted.
The best way to obtain this supply, and obtain it quickly, is through the use of rainwater catching systems. This is an old technique that is once again becoming popular around the country.
Surprisingly, or I guess not surprisingly the way things are going, some states actually have the audacity to regulate this practice, even making it illegal in certain circumstances!
How about Oklahoma? Is it illegal to collect rainwater in Oklahoma?
No, it’s not illegal to collect rainwater in Oklahoma. The state encourages citizens to collect rainwater and reuse it as part of an initiative signed into law HB3055. There are very few restrictions on the implementation of private rain catching systems.
The good news is that Oklahoma seems to be very forward thinking when it comes to making the best use of natural water supplies to help the environment, help citizens, and generally prevent waste.
The better news is that they don’t force you to partake, and they don’t get in your way with a big bunch of crap red tape rules and laws.
If you live in Oklahoma and want to start storing rainwater, keep reading and I’ll tell you what you need to know.
Is Collection of Rainwater Illegal at the State Level in Oklahoma?
No, the collection of rainwater is not illegal at the state level in Oklahoma and in fact, this is one state that strongly encourages citizens to harvest rainwater!
This is part of what Oklahoma calls the 2060 Initiative as a means of conserving water resources and reducing the burden on municipal water supplies. They are so serious about it they signed a bill into law, HB3055.
But don’t worry: the law is concerned only with facilitating statewide endeavors and earmarking funding for the various associated programs.
It won’t really get in your ways, and in some ways makes it easier for homeowners to implement their own rainwater systems.
HB3055, also known as the Water for 2060 Act, is legislation that aims to promote water conservation and sustainability by facilitating the use of rainwater for certain purposes and the conservation of all other sources of water.
This legislation is important because it helps promote the sustainable use of water throughout Oklahoma, a state where water scarcity can be an issue, particularly during times of drought.
Allowing and encouraging citizens to collect and use rainwater is a big part of this initiative. The Oklahoma Water Resources Board has all the info you could want.
Is Collection of Rainwater Illegal at the County Level?
Yes. But while the state allows homeowners to collect rainwater explicitly and no county outright bans it, some counties may have more specific regulations about how it can be done.
For common examples of county-level laws, some may require homeowners to obtain permits for building or installation, or adhere to certain installation, material, use and maintenance guidelines.
Before you buy or install any rainwater collection system, even some barrels and gutter diverters, it’s essential to check with your county or municipal government to see if there are any specific regulations in place!
Even though the state is gung-ho about using rainwater, you still must stay in compliance with all applicable rainwater laws and regulations at the local level.
Under What Conditions Can Citizens Collect Rainwater in Oklahoma?
Citizens in Oklahoma can collect rainwater anytime for non-potable uses, including irrigation, car washing, and other outdoor tasks, along with indoor uses like flushing toilets.
They can also use the collected water for washing clothes, though some health department guidelines might specify that repurposed rainwater needs to be properly filtered or treated first.
Also, though there’s no specific law against using rainwater privately for potable purposes, you must never use it for any public potable use either as an individual or a business.
Also, health department guidelines and local codes may explicitly forbid using rainwater for drinking, even with treatment.
Is There a Limit on How Much Rainwater You Can Collect in Oklahoma?
No. There is no specific limit on how much rainwater a private citizen can collect in Oklahoma.
However, it’s important to note that it could once again vary depending on the county or municipality in which you reside.
Local authorities might also impose restrictions during times of drought or other water source depletion.
Something else to keep in mind is, assuming you are collecting truly immense amounts of rainwater, that you could potentially impact neighboring property owners’ water rights!
Though highly unlikely in almost all settings, it’s something to keep in mind because that could prove to be a great way to get sued!
In short, obey any local emergency declarations, be considerate of your neighbors and otherwise collect all the rain you want in OK.
What Does Oklahoma Allow Citizens to Use Rainwater For?
Oklahoma, as a rule, allows its citizens to use rainwater for various non-potable purposes and outdoor chores, certain indoor uses, agricultural use and more.
There are no state laws explicitly covering the use or banning of rainwater for certain purposes, but your specific use-case will still need to adhere to other relevant state and local laws, i.e. health codes, etc.
Does Oklahoma Require Special Equipment or Inspection for Rainwater Collection?
No, the State of Oklahoma does not require any special equipment or inspections for rainwater collection systems used by private citizens.
The state has, though, commissioned some really in depth guides to help people make good choices and build practical, effective and low cost systems.
Keep in mind, residents who wish to install a rainwater collection system will likely need to ensure that it meets local plumbing codes and standard safety requirements, such as securing the collection tanks and properly directing runoff.
Different counties or municipalities may have substantially different guidelines for rainwater collection systems, including the size and location of tanks (particularly in residential neighborhoods).
Do double-check with your local government and/or HOA as needed before planning and selecting a system for your property. You won’t have to worry about the state government, at least!
Does Oklahoma Offer Incentives for Rainwater Collection?
Strangely, and unfortunately, Oklahoma does not offer any incentives or rebates for rainwater collection systems. Funny considering how enthusiastic they are about the 2060 plan…
The state strongly encourages its residents to harvest rainwater, but that’s it.
It is possible that local providers or governments may provide financial assistance or other incentives to homeowners who install rainwater collection systems, though.
Bottom Line: Is Oklahoma a Good State for People Considering Rainwater Collection?
Yes, big time! Oklahoma can be a great state for anyone who wants a rainwater collection setup, particularly because of its strong support for the practice and lack of state-level impediments.
In Oklahoma, there are hardly any regulations surrounding the collection and use of rainwater, which is a relief for anyone looking to install their own.
You might need to deal with a little local permitting and inspection nonsense depending on where you live, but the pronounced lack of chatter on the subject tells me this is not much of an issue.
More importantly for us, Oklahoma has a relatively high annual rainfall, particularly in the eastern part of the state. According to the NOAA, the average annual rainfall in Oklahoma ranges from around 20 to 50 inches, depending on the region.
This means that, in many areas of the state, you can be netting hundreds or thousands of gallons a month from rain alone! The lack of financial benefits is the only blemish on an otherwise excellent raincatching report card.
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