APRIL 8, 2015 BY 

Colorado is the only state that prohibits residential collection of rain.  Most people don’t even know it’s illegal to collect rainwater, and do so already.  Rainwater collection (or “rainwater harvesting”) is the process of intercepting storm water runoff and putting it to beneficial use such as to water lawns and gardens. The most common way to collect rainwater is to direct roof gutter downspouts to landscape areas you wish to water. The state of Colorado currently allows limited collection and use of precipitation from residential property rooftops in cases where the landowner uses or is entitled to only certain types of well permits to use well water for their domestic non-potable water supply.

House Bill 1259 supporters hope to increase this allowance for individuals to collect up to 600 gallons of water annually with barrels no larger than 100 gallons per residence.

“We’re simply wanting to allow people to collect the rain that falls off of their rooftops… to put back into the earth,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo.

“One of the most important things this bill accomplishes is putting urban and suburban water users in the mind frame of conservation,” said co-sponsor Rep. Jessie Danielson, D-Wheat Ridge.

The Bill was passed by the Agriculture, Livestock & Natural Resources Committee 8-5 last month and now advances to the full House for vote. Contact our Senator – Baumgardner District 8 – 303-866-5292 with your comments on this Bill.

This isn’t the first time rainwater has made headlines in Colorado. Senate Bill 09-080, passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor during the 2009 legislative session, states that rainwater collection can happen only if:

  • Harvesting takes place on residential property
  • The owner of the property has a legal entitlement to a well
  • No water is provided in the area by a water district or a municipality
  • The roof is the only location collecting rainwater
  • The collected rainwater is put to uses explicitly permitted in the well permit

And  under Colorado House Bill 13-1044, graywater can be used to can be used to flush toilets and irrigate landscape at residential, multi-residential and commercial locations.