Great news – rainwater harvesting will soon be allowed in Colorado! Currently, Colorado is the only state to ban the collection of rainwater in rain barrels, but House Bill 1005 will allow Coloradans to use up to two 55-gallon rain barrels to collect rainwater for watering lawns or gardens when signed into law.
A similar bill went un-passed last year, due to concerns over the effects of rainwater collection on the state’s water supply and on existing water rights. According to the Colorado Independent, backers of the re-introduced bill cited a recent Colorado State University study that found that rainwater collection would not impact water supply or long-held water rights. To protect water rights holders, amendments were added giving the state engineer’s office regulatory authority over the water collected in rain barrels.
Earlier this week, the bill went to the full Colorado Senate for debate and vote, and as reported by the Denver Post, it was passed in the state Senate 27-6 on Friday, April 1st. The bill is now headed to the desk of Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper to be signed into law. Earlier in the week, Governor John Hickenlooper stated that he is in support of the bill and optimistic he will see a rain-barrel bill on his desk for him to sign into law this year. With the passing of the bill in the Senate, this will now be the case!
In a statement following the Senate vote, Pete Maysmith, the executive director of Conservation Colorado noted, “This is an exciting day for Coloradans.” He continued, “Now more than ever we need innovative tools to prepare us for a future characterized by a growing population and water challenges from climate change such as decreased snowpack and extreme drought.”
We at Wahaso are excited about the bill’s recent developments, and for the future of rainwater harvesting in the state. Our greywater harvesting system at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Williams Village was commissioned in late 2015, and we look forward to working on more water reuse projects in Colorado.
About the Writer: Emily Avellana is a senior majoring in marketing at Elmhurst College and a Marketing Assistant at Wahaso.