Water, Water Everywhere? Not Here!

I happened to catch a part of the news yesterday where they were talking about the drought in California, and how some communities were limiting the amount of water a person could use. One man, determined to keep his foliage alive, showed the newscaster the fifty-gallon containers where he collected and stored rain water. I just glossed over that bit about his collecting rain water because I was thinking of myself and wondering about the wisdom of putting in grass during a drought year.

I’m not in California, and there are no restrictions here, at least not yet. The mountains are getting some snow, so there might not be any restrictions, but I’ve always been water conscious, so I do feel a bit guilty about the grass. Still, if a thousand square feet of lawn is my worst offense against conservation, then I’m doing pretty good. In fact, until recently, I have never in my entire life used even half the water I paid for every month, so I’m just sort of evening things out.

I didn’t think anything more about the fellow collecting rain water until the early morning hours when I suddenly awoke, wondering where he was getting so much rain water in a drought. I mean, here in my corner of the world, we haven’t had any moisture for months, not even a cupful let alone gallons.

I finally was able to put the rain-collection conundrum aside and fall back asleep, but apparently, I didn’t forget it because here I am talking about it.

It did seem odd to me, though, that someone could brag about collecting rain water. If people here were to collect rain water, they dare not mention it because it’s illegal to collect rain water in Colorado. (Colorado is the only state with a ban on rain barrels, and is only one of four states where rain harvesting is illegal.) I actually know someone who got cited for collecting rain water.

The theory behind the ban on collecting water is that any rain water you collect could affect the water rights of others and also could disrupt ecosystems because any water you collect won’t go into nearby streams, rivers, and other bodies of water. Seems specious to me. I mean, if I collect rain water to water my foliage, then all I am doing is collecting water from one part of my yard and directing it to another. I can’t see that it makes any difference what I do with the water that falls on my property — it’s still going to end up where it would have ended up anyway. Come to think of it, isn’t that what rain gutters do? Collect the rain that falls on the roof and direct it elsewhere? So why aren’t rain gutters illegal?

Despite the ban, some people do collect small pans of rainwater to water their indoor plants (making sure the pan isn’t visible from the street), but I don’t even do that small bit of collecting. It has nothing to do with illegality, and everything to do with laziness. It seems like a lot of work to me.

For the next few days, at least, I won’t have to feel guilty about wasting water on my lawn because it will be too cold to water, and in a day or two there is a vague chance of some precipitation. Hmm. Just thought of something. Why should I feel guilty at all? If it’s illegal to collect rain water because it prevents water from draining into rivers and ponds, then shouldn’t watering my lawn be a good thing since it’s putting the water back where it belongs?

That question, too, will probably wake me in the early morning hours. Oh, well. Who needs sleep?


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6 Responses to “Water, Water Everywhere? Not Here!”

  1. Uthayanan Says:

    If it is not permitted to collect rain water.
    Is it possible to have a Standard domestic water well in your town ?

  2. Joe Says:

    “Collect the rain that falls on the roof and direct it elsewhere? So why aren’t rain gutters illegal?”

    Good point. People in government are insane, is the only answer I can come up with. My state also has some antiquated rule about collecting rainwater (called your building’s “footprint” as it displaces water from landing on the soil and sinking in, but hello, that’s what pavement does and they don’t tax pavement! Sheesh! See above about governmental insanity). However in the city, they actually encourage it and so many households with a yard have rain barrels and other catchments like rain gardens where gutters direct rainfall into a garden that can absorb the excess water and let it filter into the soil.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I can sort of understand the ban in agricultural areas since so much of the runoff ends up in irrigation ditches, but Colorado specifically bans rain barrels in cities. So insane.

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