New Changes To An Old Law, Rainwater Harvesting

By: James Hopkins Email
By: James Hopkins Email

Did you know it use to be illegal to collect rainwater? It was until just recently.

Colorado water law declares that any water that falls from the atmosphere within its borders belongs to all the people in the state and diverting it in any way from its natural course is illegal. But just this year Governor Bill Ritter approved some changes to this long standing law.

Chris Blatter has a vision, a vision of a remote getaway where he can escape. "It's a fun thing, I'm just building a glorified tree fort," says Blatter. Far away from the hustle and bustle of the city, in Silverton on a ridge at 11,700 ft. He has designed his new home to thrive off the land, utilizing the sun, wind and rain to supply all his needs. But when it came to collecting rain water, his plans came to a quick halt. "I talked to a judge and he said no," says Blatter.

Under Colorado law, rain water harvesting is illegal and there were no exceptions, but Blatter wasn't going to give up. "I was continuing to do that when talk came up about new legislation that got passed in April," says Blatter. Governor Bill Ritter has signed a new bill that allows people like Blatter, with remote homes, to collect rain water, but there are some strict rules.
-It has to be a residential property,
-They have to be entitled to a well,
-The well is permitted for domestic uses,
-There is not other water supply available,
-Rain water can be collected only from the roof, and
-A person is limited to the uses of the water.

If you meet all the criteria, you can get a permit. "I canceled my application in the other fashion and I put in for a permit, 60 bucks, filed it, ten days later I got it," says Blatter. Blatter is the first person in the state of Colorado to receive this new permit, but to him, it was well worth the wait. "It took an extra year but now I can do what I really want to do," says Blatter.

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