For many years, rainwater collection has been illegal in the state of Colorado. As the only state in the nation with this ban on rain barrels, the logic behind the law was that it takes water out of the river system and harms users down the line who have already paid for water.
On March 1, the Colorado House passed House Bill 1005 by a vote of 61-3. If this bill becomes law, Colorado residents who live in houses or small condominium complexes will be able to put two 55-gallon rain barrels on their property to collect stormwater. The water collected in rain barrels will be available to use for outdoor purposes, such as gardening, only.
Last year, a similar bill came to the legislature and while it passed in the House, it died in the Senate. This year, Democrats in the House allowed two GOP-sponsored amendments that eased concerns over rain barrels within Colorado water laws.
- The first amendment makes it clear having a rain barrel isn’t a water right
- The second amendment allows a state engineer to step in if water is siphoned off from people with water rights
Water and property rights are important in Colorado, as well as across the country. Rain barrels have many benefits and this is a large step by the legislature for managing stormwater containment in Colorado, while still protecting the water rights of property owners.
Benefits of Rain Barrels
- Rainwater is better for gardening. Rainwater is free of salts and fluoride compounds contained in tap water and is highly oxygenated.
- Rain runoff can pick up soils, fertilizers, oil, pesticides and other contaminants. Runoff pushes these elements into other areas and can be detrimental for the environment, wildlife and humans.
- Putting rainwater straight into your garden eliminates the extensive and energy-intensive sewage treatment process.
- Gardening and lawn watering account for 40% of residential water use in the summer, according to the EPA. Using water from rain barrels can reduce your water bill and help conserve water during the growing season.
- Because rainwater doesn’t have the salts and chemicals common in tap water, you’ll have a green way to wash your cars and pets.
Rain barrels are one element in stormwater containment and management. For more information about stormwater containment methods, contact BTL Liners.