June 28, 2009

Catching Rainwater in Colorado Legalized

What is odd is that I saw this in the online New York Times, but not in the Denver Post or Pueblo Chieftain. National Public Radio's version is here.

Now two new laws in Colorado will allow many people to collect rainwater legally. The laws are the latest crack in the rainwater edifice, as other states, driven by population growth, drought, or declining groundwater in their aquifers, have already opened the skies or begun actively encouraging people to collect.

A Colorado State University extension agent clarifies that the new law applies only to people not on municipal water systems.

How many people do you suppose are going to get a permit?

Thus, if you have a household-use only well, you can only use rainwater for “drinking and sanitary uses” within the home, according to the summary. Flushing toilets is in but greenhouse irrigation is out, and don’t even think about creating a decorative water feature with it. If you choose to drink, check with your local health department for tips on cleaning the water before consuming it.

With few exceptions, Colorado reporters are afraid of water reporting. I noticed that when I first joined the old Colorado Springs Sun, and indeed it was not until I was on my second paper that I made the effort to learn the basics about water issues.

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