For the past couple of years, I have thought about buying a rain barrel to collect the much needed moisture that I could use around my gardens. I actually went around and looked at several types, even looked into making my own.
A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to my husband about it, and he told me, quite frankly, that it was illegal to do so in the State of Colorado. Uh, WHAT?
Here is what is stated:
A. Colorado Water Law requires that precipitation fall to the ground, run off and into the river of the watershed where it fell. Because rights to water are legally allocated in this state, an individual may not capture and use water to which he/she does not have a right. We must remember also that rain barrels don't help much in a drought because a drought by its very nature supplies little in the way of snow or rain. The reuse of household water (gray water) is regulated by the Colorado State Board of Health Guidelines On Individual Sewage Disposal Systems (PDF). Local health agencies are responsible for implementation and enforcement of the Guidelines.
Link to additional information:
Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Fact Sheet on Colorado's Water Situation (Western water rights & using gray water (PDF).
Prepared by the Colorado Division of Water Resources, April 2003 on Gray Water Systems and Rainwater Harvesting in Colorado (PDF)
Simply stated, the farmers get my water. I don't. Californians get my water. I don't. Asinine.
However, a new law has been stated...effective July 1, 2009:
ANY SYSTEM OR METHOD OF COLLECTING PRECIPITATION FROM UP TO THREE THOUSAND SQUARE FEET OF A ROOF OF A BUILDING THAT IS USED PRIMARILY AS A RESIDENCE AND IS NOT CONNECTED TO A DOMESTIC WATER SYSTEM THAT SERVES MORE THAN THREE1 SINGLE-FAMILY DWELLINGS, BUT ONLY IF THE WATER THUS COLLECTED IS USED FOR ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING:
(A) ORDINARY HOUSEHOLD PURPOSES;
(B) FIRE PROTECTION;
(C) THE WATERING OF POULTRY, DOMESTIC ANIMALS, AND LIVESTOCK ON FARMS AND RANCHES; OR
(D) THE IRRIGATION OF NOT MORE THAN ONE ACRE OF GARDENS AND LAWNS.
As long as I submit an application, the water is mine. My plants say thank you, and so does my planet.