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Who owns the rain that falls on your roof?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

According to the state of Colorado collecting rain in rain barrels is illegal, because the rain that falls on your roof belongs to "farmers, ranchers, developers and water agencies that have bought the rights..."

post #2 of 16

Wow this is unbelievable to see this in our country.... Are there other states with the same law??

post #3 of 16

Does that mean anyone who has a pool without a cover can be arrested?  Or is only if you collect the water in a barrel?


...What about plants planted in barrel-planters?

post #4 of 16

Wow that's just ridiculous, but I'm guessing we'll see more of these sorts of disputes as drought conditions increase due to climate change.

post #5 of 16

That is pretty crazy.  So does that mean you're stealing water if you carry some inside on your clothes when you get caught outside in a rain storm?  Obviously that quantity is pretty negligible.  But as Frank Jaeger says in that article,


"Every drop of water that comes down keeps the ground wet and helps the flow of the river," Jaeger said. He scoffs at arguments that harvesters like Holstrom only take a few drops from rivers. "Everything always starts with one little bite at a time."


And as Amanda mentioned, does that apply do plants in your garden?  They obviously steal some rain too.  It seems like a better use of resources to use water at the source.  Meaning...when the rain falls and you harvest it, you don't have to transport it anywhere to water your garden.  You lose substantially less to evaporation.  And that seems more efficient.


Not to seems to me that water rights are fairly out of date.

post #6 of 16

I never thought of myself as a water thief - I have 2 rainbarrels.

post #7 of 16


Originally Posted by Sherrye View Post

I never thought of myself as a water thief - I have 2 rainbarrels.

That's great!  How much water do you usually get during the rainy season?

post #8 of 16


Originally Posted by stins View Post


That's great!  How much water do you usually get during the rainy season?


Our rainbarrel filled up after just a couple of days of rain, and there's not much to do with the water during the rainy season, so I'm guessing she got about 2 barrels' worth

post #9 of 16

When we were working on the design of an iron ore reduction plant for Trinidad someone in the home office in Bombay said we had to use rain water harvesting.


Sure - we used about 10,000 m3/day. Trinidad gets plenty of rain but with the volumes the process required rain water harvesting would take a lot more area than we had in the plant site.


In Izmir, Turkey (where I have retired) a realtor was talking about rain water harvesting for a home - OK but we get little if any rain from mid April until November. Again, it would take a rather large tank to be of any use. In the winter months there is plenty of water.  


It is a fine idea but with mainly in locations where rain is regular. 


I grew up in Oregon and remember stories about some of the battles and killings over water rights. Quite some excitement at times according to the stories.

post #10 of 16's pretty messed up. Here's a talk about water rights:


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post #11 of 16

I got the two 55 gallon rain barrels last summer and they have been filled and emptied many times. I just recently started using the water that I collected over winter because we had been getting plenty to sustain my plants until just the past few weeks. It rained ever so slightly on Saturday and I must've gotten 30 gallons or more. Both barrels are full again as well as the overflow containers I keep there beside them - my outside cat likes to drink out of those more than fresh tap water. During a heavy rainstorm I could fill DOZENS of those barrels from the one spigot that collects all the rain from the south side of my roof. What I don't collect just drains off into the storm drains, into the bayou, & eventually to the gulf anyway - so I don't think I am depriving any farmers. As far as I know, I own my mineral rights, too. . . for what they are worth under my little tiny plot on which I am not allowed to build anything else anyway.


post #12 of 16

That makes no sense at all. If you collect rainwater you simply get your water from a different source ie: your rainwater tank instead of a dam where the water is stored before it gets to your home. You still use roughly the same amount of water, or probably less because you actually care enough about the environment to get a tank in the first place as opposed to other users who don't think twice about water usage.

post #13 of 16

I wouldn't get too excited about it until someone is prosecuted over rain barrels. I mean one or two - if one individual comes up with fifty of them then they are asking for a problem.


Seems highly unlikely due to the minimal impact and real cost to the state that they would prosecute. It would take a real jerk for a DA to go after someone over this matter!



post #14 of 16
There was actually a post written about this over at the NY Times Green Inc blog:

This is the funniest part:
“The rain barrel is the bong of the Colorado garden,” wrote a columnist in the The Gazette of Colorado Springs. “It’s legal to sell one. It’s legal to own one. It’s just not legal to use it for its intended purpose.”

As we know, Colorado says it's illegal to collect rainwater (more or less) but apparently there are some southwest states actively encouraging it:
In Texas, incentives are offered to encourage the purchase of rainwater harvesting equipment, with up to $40,000 in rebates available to businesses that install collection systems
post #15 of 16
 That is so ridiculous!  I think that in Mo they also offer incentives.  I just got the rainreserve which is pretty sweet.  If you are interested in saving water, you should really check out this site.
post #16 of 16
An article about rainwater capture from the NY Times describing changes that have and some restrictions still in place in Colorado and elsewhere. 
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