Collecting Rainwater No Longer Illegal in Colorado

I wrote a short article for our October issue about how it was illegal—and had been for more than a century—for Coloradans to collect precipitation that falls on their property. The law also made it illegal for retailers to sell rain barrels and similar items—even something like a bucket, if the retailer suspected his customer would use it for illegal purposes.

No more. Two new laws taking effect this year now make it legal for Coloradans to collect rain.

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  • ||

    Unfortunately, the police have said that they will still respect Federal Law over State Law and will continue to arrest people who collect rainwater.

  • ||

    It's all about the money. instead of writing a one-liner to repeal the old law that only forced a person to stop collecting rainwater, they wrote two new laws to make sure they have their fine-collecting scheme in order. I fucking hate politicians.

  • db||

    Clearly this is a discriminatory practice, as there is no equality in rainwater collecting capacity. The only way to make this right is to evenly divide the private land holdings of all Coloradans among them so that each has equal rain-collecting potential. To address the ability side of the question, the State must provide equal numbers of rain collecting barrels to all legal state residents.

  • ||

    Water Rights are big money here in Colorado. At least up until the economy took a dumper, developers would buy up farm property and parcel out the water rights to sell off. They'd keep just enough shares to build houses, but the rest would go to cities and towns usually.

    I've seen deals where the same 35 acre piece of property had shares from six different sources.

    These new laws may dampen the price a bit.

    Way to screw the economy guys

  • ||

    Well, that last sentence should've had a "Snark" HTML tag around it. Apparently Reason's comments section doesn't recognize that particular tag.

    They really should put in some sort of preview function.

  • classwarrior||

    It's worth noting (for all you privitization advocates out there) that when Bechtel was awarded the contract to provide water services in Cochabamba, Bolivia, a provision in that contract allowed them to charge for water drawn from wells and for collected rainwater too!
    http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/bolivia/timeline.html

  • ||

    It's still illegal here in WA state.

  • Paul||

    It's still illegal here in WA state.

    Not illegal, but regulated.

    http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/hq/rwh_rule.html

    State law defines water resources as "all water above, upon, or beneath the surface of the earth, located within the state." RCW 43.27A.020. Rainwater is therefore legally considered a water resource of the State. The Department of Ecology (Ecology) is responsible for managing the State's water and recognizes that rainwater collection has many benefits. Regulating the use of small amounts of rainwater was probably not the intention of the statute when it was drafted.

    Do I Really Need a Permit for My Rain Barrel?
    Not for a traditional residential rain barrel but maybe for a larger cistern. The difficulty in defining the permitting requirements for rainwater collection lies in differentiating between the systems that cause little, if any, hydrologic impact (the vast majority of small systems) and those systems that could cause impairment to other water right holders (including streams), notably in closed basins where no new water rights are being issued. Rainwater collection for consumptive use (irrigation) could potentially cause impairment of other water rights by limiting the amount of water that would otherwise flow into freshwater streams with their own water right or streams that supply other water right holders.



    Water rights are a complex business in the West.

  • ||

    It's worth noting (for all you privitization advocates out there) that when Bechtel was awarded the contract to provide water services in Cochabamba, Bolivia, a provision in that contract allowed them to charge for water drawn from wells and for collected rainwater too!



    Anyone else see that privitization [sic] is not the issue here?

    classwarrior, I grant your company the right to kill people. Wow, privatization sux!

  • ||

    "The only way to make this right is to evenly divide the private land holdings of all Coloradans among them so that each has equal rain-collecting potential"
    Agree in principal, but unfortunately there is something called a "rain shadow" - rain has a tendency to fall on the western side of mountains in the US (due to prevailing winds), thus resulting in unequal precipitation amounts. Obviously, fairness demands that we flatten the Rockies.

  • Elemenope||

    Water rights are a complex business in the West.

    Which is the first big clue that human beings have no business living there.

  • Rich||

    Dan, I'm pretty sure the environmental impact assessment procedures for that are buried somewhere in Waxman-Markey.

  • loupeznik||

    Nick | June 29, 2009, 12:17pm | #

    It's all about the money. instead of writing a one-liner to repeal the old law that only forced a person to stop collecting rainwater, they wrote two new laws to make sure they have their fine-collecting scheme in order. I fucking hate politicians.

    AMEN!!

  • JB||

    There's a hole in my bucket. Dear Liza. Dear Liza.

  • ||

    OK, JB wins the thread!

  • ||

    You better check your bucket!

  • BeesInTheBrain||

    It's almost like they weren't even trying to protect the environment. These people are now producers of a product that is known to wreck havoc on the environment and to contribute to global warming and they aren't being taxed for it. I for one am tired of subsidizing such reckless behavior.

  • Mike||

    I want to collect the sunlight that falls on my property, and use it for power. I hope that doesn't violate any laws. I also want to breathe the air on my property. Is that OK, or do I have to prove I'm not breathing too much?

  • ||

    I also want to breathe the air on my property. Is that OK,

    Only if you have the proper CO2 permits for exhaling.

  • ||

    Well, you buy the land, but not the airspace rights above it, right? So, I am thinking... giant funnel.

  • Ratdog||

    It's still illegal here in WA state

    Perhaps so, Sage

    But running a farm animal bordello is perfectly legal. O wonderous mysteries of WA state..

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