Rain Barrels and the Law

The entire West is facing water challenges with a growing population, limited water supplies, and a changing climate.

I saw this in a post discussing a change in Colorado law allowing residents to harvest rainwater. Prior to the law’s passing, setting up rain barrels like mine was illegal. Illegal? Yes. The Water Police would have come over and ordered me to disconnect my big barrels that collect water every time it rains.

At first, it’s illogical, thinking that conserving water would be not only discouraged, but outlawed. The old laws, however, were written for a time when the average citizen didn’t collect and reuse water. The old laws managed water rights for farmers and ranchers, people making their living off the land. The original legislation made sure the folks who needed large quantities of water for their crops and their livestock would have it and not have to fight their neighbors over every drop.

But now, in an era where individuals are concerned about water – saving water, reusing water, even treating water for household use – the old laws no longer make sense.

I’m fortunate to live in a region where water is relatively plentiful and my rain barrels are encouraged, not outlawed. It’s still important to conserve. I’m glad it’s spring, at long last, and I’m glad to see rain in the forecast sometime this week. I’ve been planting and watering, leaving the barrels ready for refilling.

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