Weird Law of the Day

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In Colorado, it is illegal to collect rainwater.

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  1. Bad link? It doesn’t seem to work for me.

    Either way, I would imagine such a law would be mightily difficult to enforce. Has anyone ever been fines or tried under it?

  2. Ever hear “hard cases make bad law?”

    Water rights in the dry west are a very hard case.

  3. Apparently it’s also against the law to have a working website.

  4. Heard about a wierder, perhaps, proposal in Madison Wisconsin to ban drive through service, even at Starbucks, in an effort to combat Global Warming.

    Not a law or zoning ordinance yet, but the proposal was reported as coming from one of their city planners, so of course, it must be good, because it will be part of the central plan.

  5. Banning drive through service!What a great idea! I can feel the icecaps stop melting already.

  6. Depending on how this is interpreted, it could outlaw the use of “tanks” – ponds that are very widely used throughout the dry west to capture runoff, mostly for livestock. If you want to shut down an awful lot of ranchers, outlawing their tanks would be the way to do it.

  7. If you want to shut down an awful lot of ranchers, outlawing their tanks would be the way to do it.

    Yea, sounds harsh, but think about the Polar Bears!

  8. Depending on how this is interpreted, it could outlaw the use of “tanks” – ponds that are very widely used throughout the dry west to capture runoff, mostly for livestock. If you want to shut down an awful lot of ranchers, outlawing their tanks would be the way to do it.

    The way I hear it, ranchers are often also armed.

    With guns.

  9. In other Polar Bear news, sounds like the dilemma for what to carpet the ‘hybrid’ Charger with may be solved soon.

  10. If you want to shut down an awful lot of ranchers, outlawing their tanks would be the way to do it.

    Yea, sounds harsh, but think about the Polar Bears!

    Actually, preserving water has nothing to do with polar bears. It has everything to do with people. The West is very dry and the vast majority of water is used by agriculture. Agriculture interests have very lenient water use laws compared to people. It would be better for a lot of people if water usage rights were more fairly allocated in thirsty western areas. Of course, actual facts have never stopped you from saying dumb things before.

  11. Isn’t this kinda like saying you don’t own migratory birds just because they land on your property? I mean, sure the law sounds silly, but it’s no sillier than saying that you can’t dam the Colorado River to keep it and prevent people downstream from using it.

  12. I’m kinda confused about the “dry west” arguments here. Isn’t Colorado full of snow-capped mountains, lush forests, lakes, and rivers? That’s what all the tourism ads say.

  13. I rent my current house, so I don’t have control over the absence of gutters – it would take four rain barrels to make smart use of the places that water rushes off my roof.

    If you rent, it’s not YOUR house. Therefore it’s not YOUR roof.

  14. I’m kinda confused about the “dry west” arguments here. Isn’t Colorado full of snow-capped mountains, lush forests, lakes, and rivers? That’s what all the tourism ads say.

    About half the state has some form of drought conditions. It’s nothing like my home state, but those conditions are on the more populated half of the state.

  15. Ever hear “hard cases make bad law?”

    Water rights in the dry west are a very hard case.

    Don’t live in the fuckin’ desert.

  16. I’m about to move to CO and I’m pretty sure that the “no rain barrel” interpretation of the law is incorrect.

    It stems from the fact that Colorado and other western/southwestern states have a different set of water rights laws than the eastern states. In the east, you have a riparian system that lets you take as much as you want from a river, stream, or lake. In CO, because water is scarce, you can’t interfere with the downstream rights of your neighbors.

    However, I don’t see how putting a rain barrel under your gutter, then using the water on the land (and allowing it to seep down/run off naturally), interferes with the downstream rights.

  17. Neat site, thanks Mo.

    Still seems like a rather dumb law though.

  18. In the east, you have a riparian system that lets you take as much as you want from a river, stream, or lake.

    Well, in general I guess, but not in the case of Virginia and the Potomac River. They have to get permission from MD or DC (depending on the location) to use water from that river. I hink part of the issue is that the border is on the VA shore, not the middle of the river like most (but not all) other places in the USA.

  19. This article has a more detailed examination of the problem.

  20. Well, in general I guess, but not in the case of Virginia and the Potomac River. They have to get permission from MD or DC (depending on the location) to use water from that river. I hink part of the issue is that the border is on the VA shore, not the middle of the river like most (but not all) other places in the USA.

    I should have clarified. You have to own the land that abuts the river or stream. So if you were on the VA side, you could, but on the MD or DC side it’s permissive.

  21. Water rights are a HUGE deal out here, and given the population growth, it’s only going to get more contentious as time goes on.

  22. However, I don’t see how putting a rain barrel under your gutter, then using the water on the land (and allowing it to seep down/run off naturally), interferes with the downstream rights.

    The purpose of a tank is to capture water that would otherwise run off. If that’s the principal, you’ve just shut down a lot of ranchers.

    Riparian rights limit your ability to control water that enters your land from someone else’s. Running water is (gawd, I hate to say this) in the public commons, like wildlife, and doesn’t belong to whoever’s land it happens to be on at any given moment. Rainwater is fundamentally different. It “originates” on your land. Saying you can’t capture it is much like saying you can’t use any springs that are on your land.

  23. Go ahead and catch that snowflake on your tongue. Make my day.

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