Florida rainwater harvesting initiative

Did you know that Florida receives between 40 and 60 inches of rain every year? You sometimes wish you could do more with rainfall than simply watch it flow down your gutters and onto your grass, where it will be absorbed. In the wonderful state of Florida, is it legal to collect rainwater?

Rainwater collection is not only permitted in Florida, but it is also encouraged via rebates and tax advantages. Cisterns, rain buckets, and rain gardens may all be used to store water. You may also utilize rainwater to do things like clean your clothes or irrigate your grass.

We’ll go through the requirements for collecting and reusing rainwater in Florida in this post, as well as the incentives you could be eligible for. It’s not anything you’ll want to miss!


In Florida, is it legal to collect rainwater?

Rainwater collection and recycling is an environmentally beneficial option that many households are considering. In locations like Florida, where water demand is high owing to hot temperatures, having your own source of renewable rainwater relieves strain on water systems to give water to inhabitants.

You may also feel good about water conservation, which is something that everybody can do. After all, according to the EPA, the average daily water use in the United States is 82 gallons. The average American household wastes around 180 gallons of water each week.

You are allowed to collect rainwater in Florida and reuse it as you see proper. Unfortunately, while it is growing increasingly widespread, this technique is not yet legal across the United States.

What are your methods for collecting rainwater?

Perhaps you were unaware that as a Floridian, you could collect rainwater. However, now that you know, you’re definitely eager to get started! So, what are your rain collection and storage options? Cisterns, rain buckets, and rain gardens are all options. Below, we’ll go through all three rain gathering systems.


The biggest of the three storage jars is a cistern. A cistern measuring six by six feet may hold up to 1,600 gallons of water. Cisterns are not only enormous but also heavy, since they are made of plastic, galvanized steel, or even reinforced concrete.

You have the option of partly submerging, totally submerging, or installing your cistern above ground. The cistern’s cover is waterproof. To drain the water and clean the interior of the cistern, you or a professional will need to open the lid from time to time.

You may wish to consider a pretreatment zone as part of your cistern installation, depending on where the rainwater that enters the cistern originates from. This will filter the water, ensuring that it is clean and free of pollutants.

Cistern installation costs on average $12,000, according to HomeAdvisor. The cistern itself is often inexpensive, ranging from $70 to $250. So, why is installation so expensive?

Excavation, which costs between $50 and $200 per cubic yard, may be required around your property. However, most cisterns will need a water filtration system, which may cost anywhere between $1,000 and $4,200. Following that, you may have to spend $15 per cubic yard to have your yard re-graded after installation. Plumbers will charge between $45 and $200 per hour.

Furthermore, depending on the size of your cistern and its intended location, permissions may be required before excavation can begin.

Barrels of Rain

A rain barrel is your second choice (or several). The rain barrel is placed under your downspout to catch rain from your roof before it flows down onto your yard. Water may enter the barrel via the aperture, but pests such as mosquitoes cannot grow in standing water.

If you’re feeling creative, you can create your own rain barrel or buy one already completed. Installing a spigot on your rain barrel will enable you to readily access that water source for lawn maintenance.

According to HomeAdvisor, constructing a rain barrel with a capacity of 100 gallons of water costs between $120 and $1,600, depending on the job’s complexity. Unless you need to construct gutters first or want to hook your rain barrel into a sophisticated irrigation system, most projects should be in the lower range.

Rainforest Gardens

A rain garden is your third choice for collecting rainwater in Florida. These backyard gardens will reduce water runoff, reducing yard erosion and reducing the load on municipal storm drains.

A rain garden is a hole in the ground that collects excess rainfall from downspouts and the grass. This depression is planted with drought-resistant plants that can absorb more water when it is available while still thriving in dry situations. More information about rain gardens may be found here and here.

What Can You Do With Rainwater?

What can you do with rainwater after you start collecting it around your Florida home? Actually, anything goes! Here’s a list to get you started.


If you can divert rainwater to your washing machine, the washer can utilize the recycled water to clean your family’s soiled clothing and linens once a week. A non-Energy Star washing machine wastes 19 gallons of water each load of laundry, according to review site Prudent Reviews.

Appliances with the Energy Star label are more efficient, using just 14 gallons each wash. Your laundry area will be the most sustainable yet by combining rainwater with your Energy Star washer!

Using Toilet Water

Although toilets only consume around two gallons of water every flush, if you flush five times a day like most people, you’re using roughly 10 gallons of water per person in your family. Use the rainwater collected for your toilet.

Cleaning Your Animals

Do you give your dogs a wash with tap water? Chemicals added to tap water, such as chlorine and sodium fluoride, may cause skin dryness, itching, and irritation in your dogs. Rainwater has none of these chemicals, making it a good option for cleaning Fido or Fifi.

Refilling the Swimming Pool

Many Florida houses feature swimming pools to keep cool in the summer. The scorching sun may cause water to evaporate, and a day of splashing about in the pool with the kids might deplete the pool’s water supply.

Why not replenish the pool with the rainwater you’ve collected? It’s most likely cleaner than the water from your garden hose!

Cleaning Your Automobile

You can’t avoid cleaning your automobile, yet it consumes a significant quantity of water. According to Earth 911, a car wash requires 15 to 85 gallons of water, which is a significant amount of water. It is better for the environment to wash your car with rainwater.

Plant/Grass Watering

You may also utilize the rainwater you gather to water your garden or irrigate the lawn when it starts to dry up. Of course, the rain garden option takes care of things for you with no further effort on your part. Talk about independence!

Is there a Rainwater Collection Rebate in Florida?

Making environmentally conscious choices is fantastic, but there are other advantages to storing rainwater in Florida. Take advantage of the following advantages now.

Rebate Program in Orlando

The Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) provides a reimbursement for each cistern or rain barrel installed in your company or office in Orlando. A refund of $0.02 per gallon of water will be given to you, up to a maximum of $200.

The cistern must be installed underground. You’ll also need a receipt or proof of purchase for the cistern or rain barrel.

Rebate Program for Manatees

Cistern incentives are also available via the Manatee Rebate Program. Within the Manatee County Utilities Department’s radius, your cistern must be part of an in-ground irrigation system. Your water use history must show that you used more than 8,500 gallons of water in the last six months.

Your house or business must have been constructed before to March 2003. You would be disqualified if you had any cross-connections or backflow devices.

With this refund, you may save 50% on the cost of your cistern up to $500. The expenses must be recorded.


In Florida, rainwater harvesting is strongly encouraged and completely allowed. Collecting rainwater in cisterns, barrels, or as part of a rain garden is a great way to help the environment while also saving money. We hope this essay has motivated you to try it!

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