Can I Collect And Save Rainwater In Washington State?

Collecting rainwater can be a great way to save money on your water bill and reduce your impact on the environment. 

However, many people in Washington State are unsure whether it is legal to collect rainwater.


Is Saving And Storing Rainwater Illegal In Washington State? The Law Says This:

Washington State has a complex set of laws relating to rainwater collection, which can be confusing for many people.

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However, the short answer is that collecting rainwater is legal in Washington State, but it is subject to certain restrictions.

According to the Washington State Department of Ecology, you are allowed to collect rainwater from any surface that is directly connected to a roof, as long as you use it for non-potable purposes such as watering plants or washing your car.


Here is what the Washington State Department of Ecology says on its website:

Rainwater collection, including the use of rain barrels, has become more popular as a supplemental source of water.

In 2009, DOE issued a rainwater use interpretive policy, which clarifies that you may use water collected from your rooftop without a water right permit.  However, there are rules on using rainwater as a potable (drinkable) water source.

Some counties in Washington may allow rainwater collection for drinking water; however, many counties do not. 

Collected rainwater often has significant contaminants that must be removed before the water is considered safe for consumption.

For regulation purposes, the Washington Department of Health’s Office of Drinking Water considers rainwater to be surface water subject to the requirements of the Surface Water Treatment Rule.

If you want to use rainwater as your sole water supply when building a new home, contact your local county planning department.


The good news, collecting rainwater is legal in Washington State but subject to certain restrictions. You can read more details about saving and collecting rainwater here.

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