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.Shades of Cochabamba, eh?
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.
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