In Colorado, Rain Barrels Are Illegal. Yup.

In Colorado, Rain Barrels Are Illegal. Yup.

ByGroovy Green Jun 25, 2008

Yesterday, after I vented a bit on the lack of rain barrel options at Big Box stores, a reader tipped us off to a very interesting issue in her state of Colorado. Rain barrels there, you see, are outlawed. Colorado state law mandates that any water falling from the air is not yours. In fact, according to their site, its already been “legally allocated” — so, you don’t actually have any rights when it comes to using precipitation that falls on your property. Here’s the exact wording:

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.

Additionally, any and all water that comes from tap may only be used once. “Denver water customers are not permitted to take their bath or laundry water (commonly referred to as gray water) and dump it on their outdoor plants or garden.” Even if that said water is ecologically-friendly?

We’re not alone in thinking this is a stupid law. Last summer, The Colorado Springs Gazette said the following:

“The rain barrel is the bong of the Colorado garden. It’s legal to sell one. It’s legal to own one. It’s just not legal to use it for its intended purpose. Meanwhile, when rain does fall, the torrential flood caused by water running off a few thousand acres of roofs, roads and parking lots erodes downstream ranches, undercuts city sewer pipes and really makes Pueblo mad.

It’s gotten so bad that the city is taxing us all — excuse me, feeing us all — to pay for $295 million in stormwater projects. So wouldn’t it make sense to save a little rain when it falls, keep it from barreling down Fountain Creek, and use it when needed? Of course it would.”

So, to the people of Colorado, I’m sorry you have to deal with such inane laws. Not having any rights in the first place to something that freely falls over your head just seems bizarre.

Anyone out there actively breaking this law because it’s lame? Anyone ever seen it enforced?