From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
Support is pouring in for a bill that would make rain barrels legal in Colorado.
HB1005 passed the House on a 61-3 vote Tuesday and now goes to the Senate. Rep. Clarice Navarro, R-Pueblo, was one of the three votes against the legislation.
Reps. Justin Everett, R-Littleton, Jim Wilson, R-Salida, also voted against it.
“We amended the legislation so that it has broader support,” said Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo.
The bill allows homeowners to collect water in two 55-gallon barrels for later use on lawns and gardens.
She provided a list of supporters that includes Trout Unlimited, the Farm Bureau, Denver Water and other diverse groups across the environmental spectrum. Pueblo Board of Water Works President Nick Gradisar personally supported the bill as well.
The amendments came after 10-2 approval from the House ag committee, and all of the committee members voted for the final product.
The amendments included a clear statement that having a rain barrel is not a water right, that the state engineer can curtail rain barrel use if necessary and a review of any allegations of injury to other water users by the state engineer in three to six years.
Esgar is optimistic the bill will get a hearing in the Senate this year, after Senate ag committee chairman Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, spiked a similar bill that passed the House in 2015.
“I’m hoping with the work that we’ve been doing on the bill he’ll support it,” Esgar said.
Colorado is the only state where rain barrels are largely illegal, but studies by Colorado State University show there would be no additional impact to water rights than from simply allowing water to flow from downspouts onto lawns.