If you’re looking at all the melted snow trickle off your roof, into your gutters, down the spouts and then flow away into drains or ditches thinking “this seems like a waste of perfectly good water”, then you are not alone. Many homeowners turn to rain barrels to use for their flower beds and on their lawns, all in the name of conserving water. While your intentions are good, there is one small problem: saving rainwater for personal use is illegal in the state of Colorado!
Yup, it may seem counterproductive when all we hear about is how we need to conserve water. And, you may have heard that California – which is arguably having the hardest time of any state regarding water – is handing out free rain barrels to residents. But Colorado has very strict water laws, and so far, the law still states that every drop rainwater already belongs to someone and that someone is not you.
Divert rainwater away from your home
When it comes to collecting the rainwater that flows off of your roof the Colorado lawmakers will have you believe that this action is likened to “drinking [Colorado’s] milkshake” like Daniel Day Lewis in There Will Be Blood. Colorado’s water is already spoken for, so keep your thieving hands to yourself. You’ll just have to pay for your own water to water your garden, and let the rainwater trickle its way to it’s rightful owners.
Of course, you may feel entitled to the water that lands on your property, but there is something to be said for controlling the water supply in such a strict manner. If we all “drank up all the milkshake” with our rain barrels and home made receptacles, everyone further downstream would suddenly see a decrease in water supply, and many agricultural facilities and farmers would not get the amount of water that they need to sustain their business. Plus, our rivers wouldn’t continue to fill up giving Colorado world class river sports and activities for tourists.
Check your gutters before spring showers
Saving rainwater for personal use is an ongoing debate, and Colorado lawmakers are working on allowing individual households to gather up to 100 gallons of rainwater, which is about what an average family can use in one day, like a spring cleaning, long shower, laundry day.
For now, just assume that the water falling from the sky is already spoken for and make sure your gutters are strong, sturdy, and diverting this precious commodity away from your home letting it continue it’s journey downstream so that everyone can get their fair share.