May 14, 2016

Now It's Legal in Colorado

I can sell these barrels legally now.
I am not afraid to post this picture anymore, because rain barrels are legal in Colorado. (Not that I have ever heard of anyone prosecuted for saving rain water on that small a scale.)

After several tries, the legislature has passed a bill and the governor has signed it allowing state residents to collect up to 110 U.S. gallons of rain water at a time for lawns and gardens.  Why is 110 a magic number? I assume because 55 gallons (208 l.) is a common commercial barrel size.

Water is serious business here, where the Colorado, Rio Grande, Platte, and Arkansas rivers all begin.

This water is not moving downstream
to its rightful owner, don't you see.
Every little trickle that moves down hill is allocated to somebody, whether an irrigation company, a city, a farmer, whatever. Not only that, but if any other user goes to water court seeking, for example, to change a point of diversion — to remove water from a stream there instead of here —everyone whose rights might be affected will jump into the case lest they be accused of not practicing "due dilligence" and defending their claim.

It's sort of like how former brand names like "cellophane" and "escalator" became generic, because they were not constantly defended in court.

Consequently, Colorado has more water lawyers than the rest of the solar system put together, or so I was always told. (And please, no repetions of the old water/whiskey jokes in the comments.)

Now if Jane and Joe Homeowner catch the water and then siphon it onto their vegetable garden, they are not doing what the big interests do, like moving water under the Continental Divide. Their water moves in the direction that it always would, only just more slowly.
Sponsors of the bill struck a compromise with farmers and ranchers, adding a provision to the bill that says if there’s any proof rain barrels are hurting downstream users, the state engineer can curtail the usage of them
The new legalization is also defended as a teaching tool:
Conservation groups hope the legislation encourages Coloradans to capture and use runoff from their rooftops on their lawns and gardens to help people recognize that water is a precious resource in this arid state, compared to the amount they would have used from their garden hoses, otherwise.

1 comment:

Woody Meristem said...

I hope the legislature also addressed the disposal of gray water from sinks and showers as well as the contents of the bladders of people, pets, livestock and wildlife.