S.B. 09-080: Rainwater catchments legislation limited to properties with an ‘exempt well’

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Here’s a look at S.B. 09-080 which allows collection of precipitation for properties that have an exempt well, from Bob Berwyn writing for the Summit Daily News. From the article:

Some of the early news stories on the change were unclear about the change in the law, creating an expectation that this “new” source of water would be widely available. But the new rule is very limited in scope. It doesn’t enable everyone to start catching and using rain water willy-nilly. In fact, the only people eligible are those who have a well permit from the state. “We’re starting to get some calls on this,” said local water commissioner Scott Hummer. “You can only use rain water for the same domestic indoor uses authorized by a well permit.”

In other words, people who get their water from a utility are not allowed to capture and use rainwater. The fundamental premise of state water law is still that every drop of rain needs to flow back into a river or into the groundwater, where it becomes part of a downstream water right owned by someone else who previously claimed it.

The tiny new exception is only for people who use a well for domestic water. And it only allows them to use the water for the same purposes specified by the well permit. In most cases, that means only indoor domestic use. It’s not legal to capture the rainwater and use it on outside plants, and it’s not legal to fill a hot tub with it, Hummer explained.

More Coyote Gulch 2009 Colorado Legislation coverage here.

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