26 October 2008

Rainwater Harvesting Update

This article highlights the stupidity of current laws and water rights:
Conservation advocates, including many utilities, have embraced the idea of using water collected from roofs, and stored in cisterns or rain barrels, to reduce reliance on dwindling surface water or groundwater supplies. Yet in Utah, Colorado and Washington, it's illegal to do so unless you go through the difficult -- and often impossible -- process of gaining a state water right.

[snip]

Kris Holstrom, who runs an organic farm outside Telluride, Colo... asked the Colorado Division of Water Resources for a permit to collect runoff from building roofs -- and was denied.

"They felt that the water belonged to someone else once it hit my roof," she says. "They claimed that the water was tributary to the San Miguel River" -- which runs some three miles from her place and is fully allocated to other users downstream.
Shades of Cochabamba, eh?

Bottom Line: Although I support water rights, I do not support stupid water laws. Rainwater used in situ reduces demand for piped supply and all the costs (to people, society and the environment) of delivering that supply.

hattip to RI

1 comment:

Fixed Carbon said...

Roof rain is used a lot in tropical countries, especially those with lots of rain. The problem is that water is expensive to store, especially if it is to be used for drinking. One needs a cistern and stringent sanitary standards (if the water is for drinking). People considering this approach should calculate usage in light of the amount and seasonality of the rainfall and the size and cost of the cistern that their usage demands ---versus the cost of tap water.