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The State of Texas Really Wants You to Catch Rainwater

Raindrops in puddles
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Not every state gets excited about catching rainwater, but Texas does.

Texas will give us an award for doing it well, and there are tax incentives.  Oh, and we can even drink it.  But there’s an art to it.

The National Conference of State Legislatures says:

… rainwater harvesting is the act of utilizing a collection system to use rainwater for outdoor uses, plumbing, and, in some cases, consumption.

In other words, grab it before it soaks into the ground or hits the drainage pipes.

Texas and Ohio get the most attention for the laws created on rainwater harvesting, and there are tax credits for buying the equipment.

Here are some of the RULES in Texas, according to the National Conference of State Legislature:

  • New state buildings have to be constructed with rainwater harvesting system technology.
  • Cities and counties are encouraged to promote rainwater harvesting at homes and businesses through incentives like discounted rain barrels or rebates for water storage facilities.
  • School districts are encouraged to install rainwater harvesting systems.

And Texas allows the harvested rainwater to be potable, which means drinkable.  We have to jump through some hoops to make sure the rainwater meets safe drinking standards, but it’s possible to drink rain here and have state support.  Rainwater is clean when it falls out of the sky, but it picks up microbes and gunk when it hits surfaces, and that has to be removed before it’s really safe for us humans to drink.  Plants and dogs don’t mind though.

Most rainwater catchment systems are above ground, and there are plenty of resources to help get you started, including those with the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association.

Texas Rain Catcher Awards are given to the best of the best, and past winners include an elementary school in Dallas, a family in San Antonio, and a manufacturing plant in Lubbock.  The Texas Water Development Board puts on the contest, and you can see more on their website.

NOW…we just have to hope it rains!

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