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Is It Illegal to Collect Rainwater: State By State Guide

Is It Illegal to Collect Rainwater: State By State Guide

Is It Illegal to Collect Rainwater in your state?

Discover the laws and regulations surrounding rainwater harvesting in the US and whether it’s legal for you to collect rainwater in your state.

While most states have no restrictions, a few like Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Illinois, and Arkansas have stringent regulations in place.

However, many states actively encourage rainwater harvesting as a valuable resource for property owners. You have the freedom to utilize rainwater that falls on your property, and it’s unlikely to become illegal. In fact, more and more states are embracing rainwater harvesting.

Find out if you can start collecting rainwater in your state today!

Rainwater collecting  barrels for storage along side a house.

Key Takeaways

  • Rainwater harvesting is generally legal in most states, with a few exceptions like Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Illinois, and Arkansas that have stricter regulations in place.

  • Many states actively encourage rainwater harvesting as a valuable resource for property owners, recognizing its benefits and providing incentives for its use.

  • Rainwater harvesting offers numerous benefits, including water conservation, reduced reliance on municipal water supplies, and cost savings on water bills.

  • Rainwater can be used for various purposes such as irrigation, gardening, and even indoor non-potable use with proper filtration and treatment.

  • Implementing rainwater harvesting systems is relatively straightforward and can be done on both residential and commercial properties.

  • It’s important to familiarize yourself with the specific regulations and guidelines in your state to ensure compliance with rainwater harvesting practices.

  • Explore available resources and incentives provided by your state or local government to support rainwater harvesting initiatives.

  • By collecting rainwater, you can contribute to sustainable water management and conservation efforts, mitigating the effects of droughts and water scarcity.

  • Organizations like ARCSA actively collaborate with government entities to support and promote rainwater harvesting practices.

  • Don’t hesitate to start collecting rainwater on your property and experience the advantages it brings. Embrace rainwater harvesting to conserve water and promote a more sustainable future.

Rain barrels for collecting rainwater on the side of a home.

Overview of Rainwater Harvesting Laws

Rainwater harvesting laws vary from state to state, but in most states, they aren’t heavily regulated and are actually encouraged by state governments. Rainwater, as a resource, belongs to the property owner, allowing homeowners to freely utilize the rainwater that falls on their property.

However, there are a few states, such as Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Illinois, and Arkansas, that have stricter regulations in place. These regulations are primarily based on old statutes and codes, and their purpose is to ensure the proper treatment of harvested rainwater.

Despite these stricter regulations in certain states, it’s important to note that rainwater harvesting isn’t expected to become illegal. On the contrary, more states are recognizing its benefits and are even providing incentives for its use.

For example, organizations like ARCSA (American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association) actively collaborate with government entities to support and promote rainwater harvesting practices.

By implementing rainwater harvesting systems, homeowners can’t only reduce their reliance on municipal water supplies but also contribute to water conservation efforts. Harvested rainwater can be used for various purposes, including irrigation, landscaping, and even indoor non-potable uses such as toilet flushing.

Not only does this help conserve water resources, but it also reduces the strain on existing water infrastructure.

Water from a downspout on a home collecting water into a rain barrel.
Rainwater being collected from a down spout on a home.

States With Heavy Regulations

Rainwater harvesting regulations vary among states in the United States. While some states have heavy regulations in place, rainwater harvesting isn’t expected to become illegal.

In states like Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Illinois, and Arkansas, there are strict regulations governing rainwater harvesting practices. These regulations aim to ensure water conservation, protect the environment, and ensure effective water governance.

For example, Colorado only allows a maximum of two rain barrels with a combined capacity of 110 gallons or less per household.

In Arkansas, rainwater harvesting systems must adhere to plumbing codes and be designed by a licensed engineer. Additionally, these systems can only be used for non-potable purposes. These regulations are often based on riparian rights and historical statutes and codes.

However, it’s important to note that rainwater harvesting isn’t discouraged in all states. In fact, many state governments encourage and support rainwater harvesting initiatives. More states are recognizing the benefits of rainwater harvesting and are even providing incentives to promote its adoption.

By harvesting rainwater, individuals and communities can reduce their dependence on traditional water sources and contribute to water conservation efforts. Rainwater can be used for various purposes such as irrigation, landscaping, and even toilet flushing.

It not only helps to conserve water but also reduces the strain on local water supplies.

States That Encourage Rainwater Harvesting

Rainwater harvesting is actively encouraged by many states as a sustainable water management practice. These forward-thinking states understand the importance of conserving water resources and actively promote the collection of rainwater for various purposes.

California, for example, provides financial incentives and rebates for rainwater harvesting systems through the Water Resources Development Act of the United States.

In Colorado, the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) offers education and resources to promote rainwater harvesting. Although Colorado is highly regulated when it comes to rainwater harvesting, they still encourage collection.

Texas collaborates with organizations like the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA) to raise awareness and provide training programs.

By actively supporting rainwater harvesting, these states contribute to sustainable water management practices and help conserve precious water resources. Rainwater harvesting offers numerous benefits, including reducing water consumption, managing stormwater runoff, and improving water quality.

It allows individuals to take advantage of natural precipitation and reduce their reliance on traditional water sources. This helps alleviate the strain on municipal water supplies and can lead to significant cost savings for both individuals and communities.

Furthermore, rainwater harvesting can have positive environmental impacts, such as reducing the demand for energy-intensive water treatment processes and mitigating the impact of urbanization on natural water systems. By promoting rainwater harvesting, these states are taking proactive measures to ensure a more sustainable and resilient water future.

Rainwater Harvesting Chart Per State

AlabamaNoNoThere are no regulations governing water collection.
AlaskaNoNoFor many residents, rainwater harvesting is the main method of water collection.
ArizonaNoNoLegislation permits municipalities to fund rainwater harvesting systems.
ArkansasYesNoState code permits homeowners to collect rainwater under specified conditions.
CaliforniaYesNoUnder the 2012 Rainwater Capture Act, various entities are permitted to collect rainwater for certain uses.
ColoradoYesNoHouse Bill 16-1005 states that homeowners are allowed to collect a maximum of two rain barrels with a combined capacity of 110 gallons. That water may also only be used outdoors.
ConnecticutNoYesNo regulation exists on rainwater collection, and the state encourages its homeowners to do so.
DelawareNoYesThere are no regulations governing water collection.
FloridaNoYesFlorida possesses no rainwater harvesting restrictions and has incentive and rebate programs
GeorgiaYesNoRainwater is tightly regulated by the Department of Natural Resources and must only be applied for outdoor use.
HawaiiNoYesRainwater harvesting is highly encouraged by Hawaii’s local government
IdahoYesNoHomeowners are allowed to capture and use rainwater as long as it does not re-enter natural waterways.
IllinoisYesNoAccording to the Plumbing-Rainwater Systems Bill SB0038, rainwater harvesting systems must be up to state plumbing code, and the water must be used for non-potable purposes.
IndianaNoYesThere are no restrictions on rainwater harvesting, and it’s encouraged by the state.
IowaNoNoNo rainwater harvesting regulations exist in the state at this time.
KansasNoNoRainwater harvesting is legal in Kansas for domestic use.
KentuckyNoNoNo rainwater harvesting regulations exist in the state at this time.
LouisianaYesNoRainwater harvesting is legal in Louisiana as long as the tank holding or capturing the rainwater is properly covered and sealed.
MaineNoNoNo rainwater harvesting regulations exist in the state at this time.
MarylandNoPartiallyMaryland does not currently have any regulations on rainwater harvesting, with some counties offering incentive programs.
MassachusettsNoYesMassachusetts does not have any restrictions on rainwater harvesting and encourages its residents to do so.
MichiganNoYesIt’s legal to harvest rainwater in Michigan, with the state encouraging its residents to do so.
MinnesotaNoYesMinnesota allows and encourages its residents to harvest rainwater.
MississippiNoNoNo rainwater harvesting regulations exist in the state at this time.
MissouriNoYesThere are no restrictions or regulations on water harvesting in Missouri, and the state encourages its homeowners to do so.
MontanaNoYesThe state of Montana does not regulate or restrict rainwater harvesting, actively encouraging its residents to do so.
NebraskaNoYesThere are no regulations governing water collection.
NevadaYesNoRainwater collection was illegal in Nevada until 2017. However, Bill Number 138 now states that rainwater can be collected for domestic use as long as it’s non-potable.
New HampshireNoYesNew Hampshire encourages its residents to collect rainwater and places no restrictions or regulations on its harvesting
New JerseyNoYesNew Jersey Assembly Bill 2442 offers rebate programs for homeowners that use specific harvesting methods.
New MexicoNoYesThere are no regulations governing water collection.
New YorkNoYesNew York does not restrict or regulate rainwater harvesting.
North CarolinaYesNoRainwater harvesting is allowed with specific regulations, such as the water being used for non-potable purposes, pipes for rainwater harvesting being labeled as purple, and collection tanks being marked as non-potable water.
North DakotaNoYesNorth Dakota does not restrict or regulate rainwater harvesting and encourages its citizens to do so.
OhioYesNoAccording to Ohio Rev. Code §3701. 344, rainwater can be harvested for potable and non-potable purposes for any household or group of fewer than 25 people, with restrictions on what materials can be used in its collection.
OklahomaNoNoThere are no restrictions or regulations on harvesting rainwater in Oklahoma at this time.
OregonYesNoRainwater collection is legal, often requiring a permit and restricting homeowners to outdoor systems (such as through rooftop collection).
PennsylvaniaNoYesHarvesting rainwater in Pennsylvania has no restrictions or regulations and is encouraged.
Rhode IslandNoYesState Bill 7070 provides tax incentives for up to 10% of the cost of the installation of cisterns.
South CarolinaNoYesRainwater harvesting has no restrictions or regulations in South Carolina, with the state encouraging its practice.
South DakotaNoNoNo rainwater harvesting regulations exist in the state at this time.
TennesseeNoNoTennessee does not have any laws regulating or restricting the harvesting of rainwater.
TexasYesYesTexas has multiple regulations on harvesting rainwater, such as requiring written notice to be given to the municipality. But, the state also offers various incentives like no tax on rain barrels.
UtahYesNoUtah has strict regulations on rainwater harvesting. Specifically, you must register your harvesting system, use the water on the land it was harvested on, and collect no more than 2,500 gallons of rainwater. Unregistered systems may collect no more than 100 gallons.
VermontNoNoNo rainwater harvesting regulations exist in the state at this time.
VirginiaYesYesVirginia encourages its residents to harvest rainwater, with Senate Bill 1416 offering tax credits to those with rainwater collection and harvesting systems. There are regulations as well, such as rainwater only being used for non-potable purposes, and the first 4 inches of water must be flushed via a diverter.
WashingtonYesNoIt’s legal to collect rainwater in Washington, but there are regulations. You must use the water on the property it was collected on, the system for collecting water must serve another purpose (such as irrigation), and each county has different rules on the potability of rainwater.
West VirginiaNoNoNo rainwater harvesting regulations exist in the state at this time.
WisconsinNoNoNo rainwater harvesting regulations exist in the state at this time.
WyomingNoNoNo rainwater harvesting regulations exist in the state at this time.
Table of rain water harvesting by state.

Rainwater as a Resource for Property Owners

Rainwater harvesting is a valuable practice for property owners, as it allows them to utilize rainwater as a sustainable resource. By implementing rainwater collection systems, property owners can benefit in several ways:

  • Increased Water Availability: By collecting rainwater, property owners can ensure a reliable and readily available water supply for various needs, such as irrigation, cleaning, and even drinking water.

  • Reduced Water Bills: Utilizing rainwater as a resource can significantly reduce the reliance on treated city water, resulting in lower water bills for property owners.

  • Environmental Benefits: Rainwater harvesting contributes to environmental conservation by reducing the strain on public water systems and minimizing the need for energy-intensive water treatment processes.

  • Resilience in Droughts: During drought periods, having a rainwater collection system provides property owners with a backup water supply, allowing them to maintain essential water usage even when water resources are limited.

Moreover, rainwater harvesting promotes sustainable living practices and supports the overall well-being of the community. By actively participating in water conservation efforts, property owners can contribute to the preservation of groundwater, mitigate water scarcity issues, and foster a more sustainable future.

Rain barrels set up on the outside of a home to store and collect rainwater.
Rain barrels set up on the outside of a home to store and collect rainwater.

Freedom to Use Rainwater on Your Property

Using rainwater on your property grants you the freedom to save water and contribute to sustainability efforts. Rainwater harvesting offers a myriad of benefits, including a dependable water supply, pristine water quality, and reduced reliance on municipal water sources.

By collecting rainwater, you can minimize your water footprint and actively participate in water conservation endeavors. Harnessing rainwater for activities like irrigating your garden, washing your vehicles, or even flushing your toilets can conserve water and alleviate strain on the water supply.

Moreover, rainwater harvesting positively influences the local water table and bolsters drought resilience in your region. To grasp the advantages of rainwater harvesting, refer to the informative table below:

Benefits of Rainwater Harvesting
Dependable Water SupplyPristine Water QualityReduced Reliance
Water Footprint ReductionWater Conservation ContributionEnhanced Drought Resilience
Chart on the benefits of rainwater harvesting.

Future of Rainwater Harvesting Laws

The future of rainwater harvesting laws looks promising, with potential for further relaxation of regulations and increased support for this sustainable practice. As we move forward, it’s important to consider the potential developments that could shape the landscape of rainwater harvesting laws.

One such development is the continued expansion of rainwater harvesting laws to more states, promoting its adoption as a sustainable water management practice. This expansion would help address the growing concerns over water pollution, environmental policy, land use, and the need for environmental impact assessments.

Another potential development is the introduction of incentives and subsidies to encourage homeowners and businesses to implement rainwater harvesting systems. These incentives would serve as a motivating factor for individuals and organizations to embrace this sustainable practice and make a positive impact on water conservation efforts.

Additionally, there’s a possibility of integrating rainwater harvesting requirements into building codes and environmental regulations. This would ensure that rainwater harvesting becomes a mandatory component of new construction projects, further promoting its widespread adoption and making it an integral part of sustainable building practices.

Furthermore, collaboration between government agencies, environmental organizations, and research institutions would be crucial in developing comprehensive guidelines and best practices for rainwater harvesting. This collective effort would help establish standardized methods and ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of rainwater harvesting systems across different regions.

Rain barrels set up on the outside of a home to store collected rain water.
Rain barrels set up on the outside of a home to store collected rain water.

Organizations Supporting Rainwater Harvesting

Organizations supporting rainwater harvesting are instrumental in promoting and advocating for this sustainable water source. They collaborate with government agencies and provide resources and information to homeowners and communities interested in implementing rainwater harvesting systems.

Three notable organizations that play a significant role in supporting rainwater harvesting include the Clean Water Act United States, the Environmental Protection Agency United States, and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

The Clean Water Act United States, a federal law, aims to protect and restore the quality of the nation’s water resources. It provides guidelines and regulations to prevent pollution and promote responsible water use, including rainwater harvesting.

By aligning rainwater harvesting practices with their mission, the Environmental Protection Agency United States provides educational materials and technical assistance, ensuring the protection of human health and the environment.

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), a bipartisan organization, serves as a platform for state legislators to exchange ideas and policies. They support rainwater harvesting by providing information on state-specific regulations and legislation related to water use and conservation.

These organizations, along with the International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance (IRHA) and similar groups, are crucial in promoting the benefits of rainwater harvesting and working towards its widespread adoption.

Through their efforts, they raise awareness, encourage policy changes, and provide valuable resources to individuals and communities interested in implementing rainwater harvesting systems. By supporting rainwater harvesting, these organizations contribute to water conservation, sustainability, and the responsible use of natural resources.

Rain barrels set up on the outside of a home to store collected rain water.
Rain Barrels

Reasons for Rainwater Harvesting Regulations

Rainwater harvesting regulations are put in place for several important reasons.

One major reason is the need to update outdated statutes and building codes that were established before rainwater harvesting became popular. These old laws may not consider the benefits and advancements in rainwater harvesting technology, so regulations help ensure that these systems are properly accounted for and regulated.

Another crucial reason for rainwater harvesting regulations is to ensure water safety. It’s essential that harvested rainwater is treated before use to prevent any potential health risks associated with using untreated water.

By implementing regulations, authorities can ensure that proper treatment methods are followed, safeguarding the health of individuals who rely on rainwater for various purposes.

Preserving the water cycle is another motivation behind rainwater harvesting regulations. By regulating the process, authorities can ensure that the natural water cycle isn’t disrupted.

This helps maintain a balance in the ecosystem, preventing any negative impacts on the environment and ensuring sustainable water management.

Additionally, regulations are in place to balance the use of rainwater with other water sources, such as well water. This approach ensures a fair distribution of water resources and prevents overuse of a single source.

By implementing regulations, authorities can encourage responsible water usage and prevent any potential conflicts over water allocation. Understanding these motivations behind rainwater harvesting regulations is crucial for homeowners looking to implement such systems.

It’s important to navigate the legalities and make informed decisions. Consulting reputable resources like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can provide guidance on water purification and compliance with regulations, ensuring that your rainwater harvesting system is both environmentally friendly and compliant with the necessary regulations.

Rain barrels set up on the outside of a home to store collected rain water.

Rainwater Harvesting Regulations by State

Rainwater harvesting regulations vary by state, but it’s important to check if it’s regulated in your state. States like Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Illinois, and Arkansas have stricter regulations against rainwater harvesting.

However, in many states, rainwater harvesting is encouraged by the government. Homeowners are often free to use rainwater that falls on their property as it’s considered a valuable resource that belongs to them. It’s worth noting that rainwater harvesting isn’t expected to become illegal, and in fact, more states are adopting it and providing incentives for its implementation.

Organizations like ARCSA work closely with government organizations to support rainwater harvesting and promote its benefits. The practice of rainwater harvesting is driven by factors such as stormwater retention and the need for water availability.

By collecting and storing rainwater, homeowners can reduce their reliance on traditional water sources and contribute to water conservation efforts.

In states where rainwater harvesting is encouraged, individuals can take advantage of various techniques and systems to collect rainwater, such as rain barrels, cisterns, and rooftop collection systems. These methods allow for the efficient collection and storage of rainwater, which can then be used for various purposes such as irrigation, landscaping, and even indoor use with proper treatment.

Rain barrels set up on the outside of a home to store collected rain water.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is it legal to collect rainwater in the US?

A: Rainwater harvesting is generally legal in most states, though a few states like Colorado and Utah have stricter regulations. However, more states are recognizing its benefits and encouraging its use.

Q: What are the benefits of rainwater harvesting?

A: Rainwater harvesting allows you to conserve water, reduce reliance on municipal water supplies, and save money on water bills. It can be used for irrigation, gardening, and indoor non-potable use with proper filtration and treatment.

Q: Are there any states that discourage rainwater harvesting?

A: While some states like Colorado and Utah have stricter regulations, many states actively encourage rainwater harvesting as a valuable resource. More states are adopting policies and incentives to promote its use.

Q: What is the future of rainwater harvesting laws in the US?

A: The future looks promising with potential for relaxed regulations and increased support for rainwater harvesting. Expansion of laws to more states, introduction of incentives, and integration into building codes are all possibilities.

Q: What organizations support rainwater harvesting?

A: Organizations like the Clean Water Act United States, the Environmental Protection Agency United States, and the National Conference of State Legislatures play a significant role in promoting and supporting rainwater harvesting practices.

Rain barrels set up on the outside of a home to store collected rain water.


So, is it illegal to collect rainwater in your state? In most states, the answer is no.

While there are a few exceptions with heavy regulations, many states actually encourage rainwater harvesting as it’s seen as a resource belonging to property owners.

The future of rainwater harvesting looks promising, with more states adopting it and providing incentives.

So go ahead and start collecting rainwater to reap its benefits!

11 Best Survival Filter Straws For Personal Survival

11 Best Survival Filter Straws For Personal Survival

Need access to clean drinking water during outdoor activities or emergencies? Survival filter straws are the answer.

These portable and efficient water filtration systems can eliminate harmful contaminants from almost any water source in seconds.

We understand the importance of staying hydrated. That’s why we’ve compiled the 11 best survival filter straws available in the market to help you find a product that will deliver a safe, reliable, and enjoyable drinking experience.

So, if you’re looking for a survival filter straw that meets your needs, you’re in the right place. Keep reading to find out more.

Photo of a glass of clean drinking water in the middle of a lake.

Top 3 Best Survival Filter Straws You Need To Buy

In This Guide

Woman getting water from a lake,

The 11 Best Survival Filter Straws For Personal Survival

These exceptional products are designed to keep you hydrated and safe during your outdoor adventures. Dive into the list below to find your perfect match!

1. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
  • Effective filtration for bacteria, parasites, and microplastics
  • No electricity or battery power required
  • Removes 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.9% of protozoa
  • Lightweight and portable design
  • No expiration date and lasts for years
  • Not suitable for filtering heavy metals or chemicals
  • Cleaning can be a bit challenging

A must-have companion for outdoor enthusiasts, the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter provides clean and safe drinking water in any situation. It’s lightweight and portable, and ensures you have access to clean and safe drinking water wherever you go.

The microfiltration membrane in the LifeStraw removes waterborne bacteria and parasites. Additionally, it removes the tiniest microplastics found in the environment, down to just 1 micron.

One of the best features of Life straws is that it doesn’t require any electricity or battery power, making it a reliable option in emergencies or off-grid adventures. And with a long lifespan of 4,000 liters (1,000 gallons), this straw offers you multiple uses with proper care and maintenance.

However, it’s important to note that the LifeStraw isn’t capable of filtering heavy metals or chemicals. So, you might want to take extra precautions when using it in areas with known contamination issues.

Still, its effectiveness, portability, and ease of use make it a worthy investment for your next adventure.

2. Membrane Solutions WS02 Water Filter Straw, Detachable 4-Stage 0.1-Micron Portable Water Filter Camping, 5,000L Water Purifier 4 Pack
  • Detachable design for easy filter replacement
  • No need for extra syringe for backwashing
  • 20,000 liters of water purification capacity
  • Tubing for extension not included
  • Not tested on heavily contaminated water

The Membrane Solutions Water Filter Straw is a reliable choice for those seeking clean, safe drinking water. With its innovative detachable design, this filter straw offers a practical solution when you’re on the go and in need of clean water.

It features a 4-stage filtration process that reduces harmful bacteria, giving you peace of mind when drinking from natural sources. This filtration system doesn’t require an extra syringe or batteries for backwashing, making it user-friendly and easy to clean during outdoor excursions.

Also, its superior backwash solution is ideal for individuals who seek low-maintenance gear. 

However, it’s important to note that tubing for extension is not included in the package, which might be a disadvantage in some situations. Additionally, while the filter is tested to remove common bacteria and contaminants, it is not tested for extreme or heavily polluted water sources.

Still, its detachable design, ease of use, and robust filtration make it a valuable investment for ensuring safe drinking water wherever your adventures take you.

3. 5 High Capacity Emergency Survival Water Straws - Personal Water Filter for Camping, Hiking, Travel, Biking, Survival, Emergency
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Filters over 99.99% of bacteria, parasites, and microplastics
  • Up to 1100 gallons of filtering capacity per straw
  • Not designed to remove salt or chemicals
  • Requires regular maintenance for optimal performance

The Practical Survival Water Straws feature lightweight, 2-ounce filters that are only 8 inches long, making it easy for you to carry them wherever you go.

One of the main benefits of these water straws is their impressive filtering capabilities. Each straw is designed to remove over 99.99% of waterborne bacteria, parasites, and even the tiniest microplastics (down to 0.1 micron), so you can confidently drink from various water sources. 

With a lifespan of up to 1100 gallons per filter, you’ll have plenty of clean water to last you a while.

However, they are not designed to remove salt or chemicals from water, so it’s essential to be cautious about the sources you’re using for filtration. 

Also Great
4. Logest 4 pack Water Filter Straw – Water Purifying Device – Portable Personal Water Filtration Survival
  • Compact and portable design
  • Efficiently removes 99% of harmful bacteria
  • Long lifespan of 600 liters per straw
  • May not be suitable for heavily contaminated water

The LoGest 4 Pack Water Filter Straw is a convenient and reliable option, thanks to its compact design that allows you to carry it wherever you go. It measures only 8×1 inches and features a carrying strap, making it perfect for adding to your survival kit without taking up too much space.

The filter purifier technology in the LoGest straw utilizes a hollow fiber membrane that effectively removes 99% of harmful bacteria at 0.01-micron filtration.

It also reduces chlorine and bad odors, improving the overall taste of the water. Additionally, it can get rid of bacteria and protozoans like E. coli, Legionella, and Salmonella, making sure that the water you drink will be fresh, pure, and safe.

Although this water filter straw is small, it offers a long lifespan of 600 liters, allowing you to get more than a year’s worth of use from a single straw. The package also includes 2 additional filters, ensuring you have a spare when you need it.

5. Waterdrop Water Filter Straw, Water Purifier Survival for Camping, Travel, Backpacking and Emergency 3 Pack, Blue
  • Five-stage filtration process
  • Long lifespan with a recyclable straw
  • Versatile uses for various situations
  • Initial priming required
  • Regular backwashing needed
  • Some users reported missing parts

The Waterdrop Gravity Water Filter Straw boasts an efficient 5-stage filtration that effectively reduces harmful substances in water, ensuring your safety and delivering a better drinking experience.

Constructed with high-grade coconut shell activated carbon and an ultrafiltration membrane with an impressive 0.1-micron ultrafiltration membrane, you can trust this straw to provide you with clean, great-tasting water whenever you’re in the great outdoors.

One outstanding feature of this Waterdrop filter straw is its longer lifespan with recyclable straw. With an innovative backwash purifier function, you can reuse and keep the inside of the straw clean at all times and reuse it.

The real charm of this survival straw lies in its adaptability. You can easily attach it to water bags or bottles, ensuring a steady supply of purified water at your fingertips, no matter where you find yourself.

It’s designed to deliver a massive 1,400 gallons (5,300 liters) of safe drinking water with a single straw.

Just make sure to do the initial priming by submerging the straw in clean water for 10 seconds. Also, backwash it with clean fresh water regularly to prolong its life and prevent blockage.

6. Purewell Outdoor Water Filter Personal Water Filtration Straw Emergency Survival Gear Water Purifier for Camping Hiking Climbing Backpacking
  • Durable construction with food-grade, BPA-free materials
  • Advanced filtration technology with 0.01-micron accuracy
  • Compact and portable
  • Requires proper aftercare, including blowing air through it after every use
  • Might be harder to suck water through, making a gravity feed system more efficient

The Purewell Filter Straw is made from robust, food-grade plastics, and most importantly, it’s BPA-Free.This straw uses advanced technology to filter tiny material, sand, and sediments.

Built with a 0.01-micron ultrafiltration membrane, it can provide up to 1500 liters of drinking water — quite a feat for such a compact tool.

It also features a 4-stage filtration system that includes a high-performance, medical-grade Hollow Fiber UF Membrane, medical-grade PP cotton, coconut shell activated carbon, and again, medical-grade PP cotton.

To use it, you can fill up your bottle, insert the filter and you’re good to go. Or, you can also drink directly from the source if that’s more of your style. The portability and quantity of water this filter straw can purify make it an absolute lifesaver during an emergency.

7. Personal Water Filter Straw Outdoor Portable Filtration Emergency Survival Gear (2 Pack)
  • Comprehensive 4-step filtration for cleaner, safer water
  • High filtration capacity of up to 1500 liters
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Affordable without compromising quality or performance
  • Initial use may release discolored water; pre-flushing is necessary
  • Lacks individual packaging, raising concerns about hygiene

This water filter straw, with its 4-step filtration, clears up tiny particles, transforming the rawest of waters into a safe source for hydration.

Thanks to its hollow fiber membrane technology and active adsorption, you’re not only blocking suspended solids but also eliminating various unwanted elements — all while enhancing water taste.

What sets NatureNova apart? This straw is designed to provide 1500 liters of clean and safe drinking water, filtering out particles as small as 0.01 microns. This superior filtration accuracy doesn’t compromise flow rate, so you’re always getting optimal water, faster.

But what truly distinguishes it from other camping equipment is its additional features. A water reserve allows you to fill the pouch before leaving a water source, a 7-inch water tube enables comfortable drinking, and a backflush mechanism helps maintain the straw’s cleanliness.

And weighing less than 3.5 ounces, this straw is a minimal burden in your backpack.

8. 2 Pack Water Filter Straw - Water Purifying Device - Portable Personal Water Filtration Survival - for Emergency Kits Outdoor Activities and Hiking
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Efficient in removing harmful bacteria and improving water taste
  • Long-lasting with a 1500-liter filter capacity
  • Package includes a spare filter straw
  • May have inconsistent performance between units.
  • Some units may require excessive effort to draw water through

At a compact size of 7.5×1.35 inches and armed with a handy carrying strap, this water filter straw won’t weigh you down. It’s a solution that fits right in your pocket, ready to provide you with fresh water wherever your journey takes you.

This straw is more than just a hydration tool — it’s a shield against harmful bacteria. Engineered to remove harmful bacteria, viruses and protozoa, it significantly lowers your risk of infection.

As it works on reducing chlorine, harmful particles, and bad odor, it also guarantees improved water taste.

With a hollow fiber membrane, this straw effectively filters out 99% of harmful bacteria at a filtration level of 0.01-micron. It also boasts a 1500-liter filter capacity, serving you fresh water for over a year.

Budget Pick
9. Etekcity Water Filter Straw Camping Water Purification Portable Water Filter Survival Kit
  • Tested for safety
  • Efficient filtration system
  • Provides up to 1500L of water
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Fragile cap
  • Included water pouch could be better

The Etekcity Water Filter Straw is designed with an advanced filtration system that defends against large contaminants, removes chlorine and heavy metals, eliminates odors, and filters out waterborne rubbish. That’s not just clean, that’s super clean!

But there’s more. This water purifier offers up to 1500 L of pure drinking water, with a water yield of 400ml per minute. The best part? all of this comes packaged in a small and lightweight (2.08oz) form.

To make things easier for you, the Etekcity water purifier comes prepared with a foldable water pouch, an extension tube, a syringe for backwashing, and an inlet mouthpiece. You’ll also get additional four PP Cotton Pads for pre-filtration.

With it, you can safely drink from almost any water source you come across — a lake, river, spring, well, or even rainwater.

10. Survival Straw Water Filter 2-Pack - Straw With Filter for Healthy Drinking - Survival Water Filter Blocks 99.99% Microplastics, Water Filter Straw
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Ultra-long lifespan, filtering up to 4,500 liters of water
  • Filters out 99.999% of impurities and microplastics
  • Not ideal for large volumes of water
  • Limited to small water sources

The  BLYNG Survival Straw Water Filter’s compact and lightweight design allows you to easily carry it in your bag or attach it to your water bottle with its special threaded cap.

Its powerful hollow fiber membrane filtration system purifies dirty water, providing fresh and clean water whenever you need it.

With an ultra-long lifespan capable of filtering up to 4,500 liters, you can always rely on it for safe and healthy hydration during emergencies or extended outdoor trips.

Also, the silicone drinking tip adds comfort when using the survival straw, and the provided neck band ensures it stays close at hand. However, it may require some effort to draw water through the straw, and it is best suited for small sources of water.

Though not ideal for filtering large volumes of water, it’s an excellent tool to have in your survival kit or for outdoor adventures.

11. OxGord Aqua Marine Personal Water Filter Straw for Survival Kit and Emergency Gear
  • Filters a large volume of water
  • No reliance on harsh chemicals
  • Activated carbon filter improves water taste
  • Compact and easy to carry
  • Difficult to suck water through

The Aqua Marine Personal Water Purifier Straw proves to be a trustworthy companion for your survival gear. It’s a practical tool for camping, trekking, or any outdoor adventure.

Included in this package is a single water filter straw, conveniently compact and effortlessly portable.

Now, let’s delve into the features that make it shine. This water purifier is capable of filtering up to 1000 liters of contaminated water. The best part? It achieves this feat without the use of iodine, chlorine, or any harsh chemicals, providing an added peace of mind.

The filter’s effectiveness is evidenced in its thorough process, eliminating 99.99% of waterborne particles.

That’s not all. It houses an Activated Carbon Fiber Layer, working to improve the taste of your water while reducing its turbidity value.

Woman sitting on a rock enjoying the view of a lake while she holds water bottles.

What Is A Survival Filter Straw?

A survival filter straw is a portable water filtration device designed for emergencies or outdoor activities.

It allows you to drink directly from water sources like rivers, lakes, and streams by filtering out harmful contaminants such as bacteria, parasites, and chemicals.

Why Should I Get A Survival Filter Straw?

Here are some key reasons to help you understand why a filter straw is an essential piece of gear for any adventurer, prepper, or traveler:


A survival filter straw allows you to drink directly from various water sources, such as lakes, streams, or even puddles. It has a powerful filtration technology that removes harmful contaminants, giving you access to clean and safe drinking water.


One of the best features of a survival filter straw is its compact design. You can easily carry it in your backpack or pocket, making it perfect for hiking, camping, or situations where you need to travel light.

Easy To Use

Using a survival filter straw is as simple as dipping one end into the water source and sipping from the other end. No need for batteries, electricity, or any special preparation.

Just make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for priming, proper use and maintenance.


Compared to other water filtration systems, a survival filter straw is typically more cost-effective.

This makes it a great option if you’re looking for a budget-friendly solution to ensure clean drinking water during outdoor activities or emergencies.

Man holding a bottle of water while looking at a beautiful lake.

Drawbacks Of Using A Filter Straw

While a survival straw is useful in many circumstances, it also has its limitations.

Dependent On Available Water Sources

The straw’s functionality relies on the availability of water sources.

If you’re in an area with limited or no water bodies, its use becomes limited.

Inability To Store Water

Typically, filter straws can’t store water; they are designed for immediate consumption.

This can be a drawback if you need to carry water for later use.

Inefficient For Large Quantities

Filter straws are not the best option for filtering large quantities of water. They are primarily designed for personal use, making them less efficient for a group of people.

Filtration Lifespan

It’s essential to be aware of the lifespan of your survival filter straw. Most products will have a specified number of gallons that they can filter before needing to be replaced.

Make sure to track your usage and replace the straw when needed for optimal performance.

Not A Complete Solution

While a survival filter straw can remove many waterborne bacteria, parasites, and other contaminants, it may not filter out viruses, chemicals, or heavy metals.

If you suspect that your water source may contain these hazards, consider using additional water treatment methods or seeking an alternative water source.

Photo of Life Straws at the store.

How Do Survival Straws Work?

In mere seconds, a survival straw can turn water from any fresh water sources into safe, drinkable water, making it an essential tool for outdoor adventures and survival situations. 

While other survival straw have unique filtration systems, here’s the basic way on how survival straws filter water:

1. Sipping the Water: Sipping the water through the straw pulls the water into the straw filter and starts the filtration process.

2. Pre-Filter Stage: As the water enters the straw, it first encounters the pre-filter stage. This part of the filter catches larger particles, protecting the following filtration stages from clogs and damage.

3. Activated Carbon Filter: After passing through the pre-filter, the water reaches the next filter, or the activated carbon filter. This layer removes many chemical impurities and significantly improves the taste of the water.

4. Hollow Fiber Membrane Filter: Following the activated carbon filter, water flows into the hollow fiber membrane filter. This component has microscopic pores that trap harmful bacteria and other minuscule contaminants, allowing only clean water to pass through.

The result is safer, clean drinking water.

5. Savor Clean Water: With the filtration process completed within seconds, you can now enjoy clean, safer water, regardless of the quality of the original water source.

*Note: Some water filters do not eliminate heavy metals or chemicals. It is always wise to take extra precautions for known contaminated water sources.

H/T @CloseIntel for this video on The Lifestraw

Factors To Consider When Buying Survival Filter Straws

When choosing a survival filter straw, here are a few key features you should consider to ensure you’re getting the best product for your needs. 

Filter Capability

The most important function of a water filter straw is its ability to remove harmful substances from your water. This can include heavy metals, harmful bacteria, protozoa, viruses, and volatile organic compounds.

The best survival straws will have a multi-stage filtration system. This often involves the use of activated carbon filters and hollow fiber membrane filters. Be sure to check the product specifications for details on what the filter can remove.

Remember, the aim is to transform any source of fresh water into drinkable water, even in the toughest survival situations.

Filter Lifespan

While every survival straw can provide you with clean water, the duration of this function can vary. This is why the lifespan of your straw filter is a vital factor to consider.

Some models boast an impressive lifespan, able to filter up to 1,000 gallons of water. A long lifespan means longer filter life, which ensures your straw will serve you well. Plus, you won’t need to carry spare filters or replace them as frequently.

Portability And Size

Since a survival filter straw is meant to be used in emergency situations or international travels, opt for a lightweight and compact design.

The best water filter straws are compact and lightweight, easy to slip into an emergency kit or bug-out bag.

Flow Rate

The flow rate of a survival filter straw refers to how quickly water can pass through the filter.

A high flow rate is generally better, as it allows you to drink water more quickly and with less effort.

In emergency situations, you need access to safe drinking water as quickly as possible. Choose straws designed for a fast flow rate, providing you with safe water promptly from various water sources.


Finally, look for additional features that may come with your personal straw water filter. For instance, some straws have an unlimited shelf life, making them a perfect fit for your emergency kit.

Others might come with a handy water bag for collecting water or a replacement filter. These added features could be beneficial in the face of an emergency situation.

FAQs About the Best Survival Filter Straw

Can a survival filter straw make any water source safe to drink?

Survival filter straws, with their robust filter material, can indeed make a lot of water sources safer for drinking. However, they’re not all-powerful.

While you could use them to purify municipal water, tap water, or even water from fast-moving streams, always aim for the cleanest water source available when sipping from the bottom of the straw.

It’s crucial to remember that these straws enhance water safety, but the source still matters.

How do I clean and maintain my survival filter straw?

After each use, blow air through the straw to remove any debris trapped in the filters. When you return from your trip, disassemble the straw and clean it with warm, soapy water. Rinse thoroughly and let it air-dry before storing.

What is the lifespan of a survival filter straw?

The lifespan of a survival filter straw depends on its quality and usage. Most straws can filter between 1,000 to 100,000 liters of water.

Always check the manufacturer’s specifications for the exact lifespan of your specific model. Replace the straw once it reaches its maximum filtration capacity or if the water flow rate decreases significantly.

Survival Filter Straw: Key Takeaways

Filter straws are a game-changer, granting clean water access to outdoor enthusiasts, world travelers, or anyone prepping for unforeseen emergencies. They’re light, portable, and can transform uncertain water sources into safer drinking water. 

But let’s be clear, not all survival straws suit everyone. Your unique needs and circumstances play a significant role in making the right pick. 

With this understanding, you’re set to select and use a survival filter straw, boosting your safety and ease during your next outdoor escapade or emergency scenario. 

So, arm yourself with one of these vital tools. Be it tucked beside an emergency blanket in your survival kit or stashed in your bog out bag, having a survival straw means you’re always just a sip away from safer drinking water.

Remember to stay equipped, stay prepared, and most importantly, stay hydrated!

How Do You Collect Rainwater and Keep It Clean? 

How Do You Collect Rainwater and Keep It Clean? 

With increasing worries about water shortage, collecting rainwater has become an important strategy. It’s also sustainable and eco-friendly.

By harvesting and storing rainwater, we can reduce our reliance on municipal water supplies, providing a reliable alternative source of water for various uses. Plus, they are useful in emergencies and off-the-grid homes.

So , How do you collect rainwater and keep it clean? To collect and keep rainwater clean, set up a catchment system with a clean roof, gutters, and downspouts. Install a first-flush diverter and debris filter. Direct water into a storage tank. Treat it with appropriate disinfectants, and cover the tank to prevent contamination and algae growth.

If you want to learn more about how to collect and clean rainwater, stick around.

We’re about to unpack everything you need to know about capturing rainwater and keeping it clean and safe for use.

Rain barrel near on the side of a house.

In This Guide

How Do You Collect Rainwater And Keep It Clean?

Rainwater collection begins with a rain collection system. This can be as simple as using a rain barrel or as elaborate as creating a rooftop gutter system that channels water into storage tanks.

Collecting rainwater involves the following:

  1. Choosing the right location for your rain barrel or tank.

2. Installing gutters and downspouts to direct water into your collection system.

3. Ensuring that your collection system is properly maintained and free of debris.

Photo on how do you collect rain water and keep it clean. Image of rain barrel.

Setting Up A Rainwater Harvesting System

So how do you collect rainwater for drinking? First, you’ll need to set up a rainwater harvesting system, which is essentially a way to catch, store, and use rainwater.

Your setup could be as straightforward as a single rain barrel or as intricate as a system with large storage tanks and built-in filtration elements. 

To set up a rainwater harvesting system, you need the following components:

1. Catchment Area

This is the surface that’ll catch the rain, usually a rooftop. Rainwater quality depends on catchment area material and cleanliness.

2. Gutters and Downspouts

These components help channel rainwater from the catchment area to the storage unit. If they’re the right size and kept clean, they’ll help you collect rainwater efficiently.

3. First-Flush Diverter

This device diverts the contaminated flow of rainwater away from the storage tank. This helps to improve the quality of collected rainwater.

4. Storage Tank or Rain Barrel

This is where you’ll store your collected rainwater for future use. Your storage can be as simple as a small barrel or as grand as a large cistern. Choose based on your needs and how much rainfall your area gets.

5. Filtration and Treatment System

Before you even think about drinking rainwater, it’s crucial to filter and treat it. Rainwater may pick up toxins like lead, copper, asbestos, silt, filth, germs, viruses, and more.

To make it safe to drink, you’ll need a filtration system, such as mechanical filters and ultraviolet (UV) sterilization systems.

But how will you filter rainwater to drink? Reverse osmosis and distillation are your best options.


Distillation involves heating rainwater until it evaporates, leaving impurities behind. The water vapor is then cooled and condensed back into liquid form, resulting in purified water.

But this method uses a lot of energy. Also, it may not remove certain volatile compounds.

Diagram of distillation of water.

Reverse Osmosis (RO)

Reverse osmosis is a pressure-driven process that forces rainwater through a semipermeable membrane. It allows water molecules to pass while retaining contaminants.

It’s best to pair it with a UV water purifier to ensure the harmful elements like bacteria and viruses are killed.

However, it can generate wastewater. It may also require pre-filtration to protect the membrane from clogging.

Diagram of how reverse osmosis works.

UV Disinfection

Using ultraviolet rays is an effective method for making rainwater safe for drinking.

UV disinfection works by exposing water to UV-C light. This kills harmful microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. It damages their DNA or RNA, rendering them unable to reproduce and cause illness.

Remember to remove any debris and sediment for UV treatment to work effectively. This is because suspended particles can shield microorganisms from UV light.

You also need to use a multi-stage filtration system, like sediment, activated carbon, and ceramic filters, to remove fine particles, organic matter, and potential chemical contaminants. This step improves water clarity, allowing UV light to penetrate more effectively.

6. Distribution System

This component helps deliver stored rainwater to various access points. Common places are garden hoses, irrigation systems, or indoor plumbing. Depending on the system’s complexity, you may include a pump, pressure tank, and pipework.

Image of a rain barrel with top part as a planter.

How To Collect Rainwater At Home For Plants

Rainwater is very good for plants because it doesn’t have the chemicals chlorine and chloramine. These chemicals, found in most tap water, can harm plant health over time.

So using rainwater for your plants can be a great way to provide them with cleaner and more natural hydration.

So if you’re going to use rainwater for gardening, you don’t have to filter it as thoroughly as you would for drinking water. But you should remove large particles so they won’t clog your drainage.

Here’s a simple guide on how to do it:

  1. Choose a clean, debris-free roof or terrace for rainwater collection. 

2. Set up gutters along the roof’s edge. Attach downspouts to channel water to your storage tank, and use a first-flush diverter.

3. Add a debris filter. You can install a mesh screen or filter before the tank to catch leaves, twigs, and other debris.

4. Pick a tank that fits your space and capacity needs. Ensure it has a tight-fitting lid to prevent contamination and insect entry.

5. Attach a hose or spigot to the storage tank for easy watering access.

6. Clean the catchment area, gutters, downspouts, and filters periodically to maintain water quality.

How Do You Keep Rainwater Clean?

To ensure the cleanliness and safety of your collected rainwater, follow these steps:

  1. Use a debris screen or filter to keep leaves, twigs, and other large contaminants.

2. Clean your gutters and downspouts regularly to prevent buildup.

3. Add a small amount of vinegar to your rain barrel to help prevent algae growth.

4. Install a filtration system to remove impurities and contaminants.

5. Regularly inspect and maintain your storage tank. 

How Do You Keep Your Rain Barrel Tank Clean?

Here are some ways to keep your rainwater tank clean:

  • Regularly inspect and clean the roof, gutters, and downspouts.

  • Install a debris filter and first-flush diverter to prevent contaminants from entering the barrel.

  • Cover the barrel with a tight-fitting lid to deter insects and algae growth.

  • Periodically clean the barrel. Use water treatment products, such as non-toxic mosquito dunks or water purifiers, to maintain water quality.
Woman preparing to clean her rain barrel.

Tips For Storing Rainwater

When storing rainwater, always keep these tips in mind:

  • Use a dark, opaque storage container to prevent sunlight from promoting algae growth.

  • Clean and inspect your storage container regularly to maintain water quality.

Benefits Of Drinking Rainwater

*It is imperative that you filter and treat rainwater before consuming it. It may contain bacteria, viruses and other heavy metals.

Rainwater is generally soft, which means it is free of minerals that can cause buildup in plumbing and appliances.

Some of the benefits of drinking rainwater include the following:

Natural Softness

Rainwater is naturally soft, meaning it lacks the minerals found in hard water that can give it an odd taste or create buildup in your plumbing.

Chemical Free

Rainwater does not contain chlorine, fluoride, or other chemicals that are often added to municipal water supplies. This makes it a great choice for individuals with sensitivities or allergies to these additives.

Ideal for Plants

As mentioned before, rainwater lacks chlorine and chloramine, which can be harmful to plants. Therefore, it’s often considered superior for watering plants, supporting healthier plant growth.


Collecting and consuming rainwater reduces dependence on municipal water supplies, helping to conserve precious water resources and support sustainability.


Once you’ve set up a collection system, rainwater is essentially free, which can significantly reduce your water bills over time.


Stored rainwater can be a life-saving backup in cases of water supply interruptions or contamination.

Rain barrel on the side of a house.


How can you prevent algae from growing in a rain barrel?

Use a dark, opaque rain barrel and add a small amount of vinegar to keep water fresh in the barrel and prevent algae growth.

Does rainwater need to be filtered?

Yes, you should filter and treat rainwater before drinking it. A filtration system will remove contaminants, impurities, and harmful microorganisms.

Can I drink rainwater directly from the sky?

No. Avoid drinking rainwater directly from the sky. It may contain pollutants, dust, and other contaminants. Collect the rainwater using a rainwater harvesting system and filter it before consumption.

How long can water be stored in a rain barrel?

Stored rainwater can generally last up to six months if it is kept in the dark, and well-maintained container. However, it is recommended to use your water regularly to ensure its quality and safety.

How fast will a 50-gallon rain barrel fill up?

The speed at which a 50-gallon rain barrel fills up depends on the size of the catchment area and the intensity of the rainfall.

For example, if your catchment area is 1,000 square feet and you receive 1 inch of rainfall, you could collect around 623 gallons of water.

In this scenario, a 50-gallon rain barrel would fill up quickly. However, actual collection rates may vary due to factors such as gutter efficiency and water losses.

Photo of a rain barrel. This shows how do you collect rainwater and keep it clean.

Wrap Up: How Do You Collect Rainwater and Keep It Clean?

Harvesting, retaining, and utilizing rainwater is a potent strategy for preserving precious water reserves.

With the strategies we’ve explored in this article, you can readily set up an efficient rainwater harvesting system, ensuring a clean, safe supply for various uses. So, why not give rainwater collection a try? 

It’s an eco-friendly solution that’s beneficial not only for your household but also for our planet.

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