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California Prop. 72 — Tax breaks for rainwater systems



California’s recent six-year drought was the worst the region had experienced in over 500 years.

Water restrictions imposed by the state during the drought led many residents to start collecting water themselves, with buckets in their showers, rain barrels in the yard, or more complicated rainwater storage contraptions.

Homeowners who installed rainwater capture systems to conserve water may have had to pay higher property taxes as a result. That’s because constructing these systems can count as a property improvement.

Proposition 72 would change that. It’s known as the “Taxes for Rainwater Systems” proposition, and it aims to help during future droughts and water shortages.

If the proposition passes, homeowners will not have to pay property taxes on any rainwater capture systems built between 2019 and 2028.  

The proposition would amend the State Constitution to allow this change.


Proponents of the initiative have only raised about $11,000 dollars in support of it. That money comes from organizations including Personal Insurance Association, and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. The California Democratic Party, Save The Bay, and Trout Unlimited also support the measure.

They say that in a state prone to drought, Propositon 72 provides a financial incentive for homeowners to help conserve water. And savings from the initiative will help lower water bills for people who decide to install rainwater-capture systems.



There’s no formal opposition to Proposition 72. The state’s legislative analyst says that if it passes, there will probably be a minor reduction in annual property tax revenues to local governments.


So if you want to install a rainwater capture system and not get taxed for it, vote yes. If you want things to stay the same as they are now — vote no.