Colorado Ends Century Old Ban on Rain Water Collection

Earlier this year, the Colorado state house passed a bill that would lift the ban on rain water collection in the state. The bill passed with a margin of 61-3. The bill was then passed by the senate in a vote of  27-6. A similar bill was stalled in the senate in 2015.

Colorado is currently the only state in the Union that had such a law on the books. At this time residents of homes or apartments can now have up to two 55 gallon rain water barrels on site. The water is only to be used for outdoor use and on their own property

The original logic behind the ban is that it would remove water from the local ecosystem, including rivers, lakes and ponds:

It’s actually stealing,” Sonnenberg, chairman of the state’s Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee, told The New York Times last year. “You might say, it’s a little bit of water, just a barrelful, how much damage could that do to someone downstream?”

While this might be true temporarily, the University of Colorado suggests that the water will be re-used in the garden and go right back into the water table, just a few days or weeks later.

FILE–In this Sunday, April 14, 2013 file photo, hikers make their way along the banks of the Colorado River in Black Canyon south of Hoover Dam, near Willow Beach, Ariz. Decision-makers from seven Western states, Indian tribes and several conservation groups will be meeting in San Diego May 28 to consider their next steps in a collaborative effort to squeeze every useable drop from the overtaxed Colorado River. The meeting comes five months after the Secretary of the Interior declared the river won’t be able to meet demands over the next 50 years of a regional population now about 40 million and growing. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)

While Colorado is paving the way on our right to medicinal and recreational plants, they seem to question if property owners have a right to water when it arrives on their roof via rain.

The Governor signed the bill into law in May of this year. The agreement made with Colorado farmers in order for the law to take affect includes a provision that will allow the State Water Engineer to curtail the use of rain water collection if it proves to negatively affect the farmers down stream.

When it comes to property rights, and the right to water – who do you think actually has the right to water? The farmers, or the home gardeners?


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