Coloradans allowed to collect rainwater in barrels starting Wednesday

Rain Barrel

DENVER – Beginning Wednesday, Colorado residents will be allowed to use rain barrels to collect rain water.

For years, state laws prohibited the collection of rainwater because of decades old water rights. Basically, under the old law collecting rain was considered stealing from others downstream, like farmers, who have a claim to that water. However, homeowners believe they have a right to divert what moisture falls on their property.

Colorado lawmakers came to a compromise to allow homeowners to collect rainwater in limited amounts beginning Wednesday, August 10, 2016.

“I was really excited about the opportunity to get [a rain barrel] to conserve water and to use water that isn’t treated,” Denver resident Dede de Percin said.

She already purchased a rain barrel for her front yard, even though the new law hasn’t kicked in yet.

“I think a lot of people don’t realize that most of our water does not come from the Front Range. Most of our water comes from the western slope so I think the idea of conserving it and being really careful with it is really important to me,” she said.

It is estimated that homeowners will get about 1,200 gallons of water per year through rain barrel collection.

There are some rules you have to stick to if you want to collect rain water:

  • Each single-family home can have up to two rain barrels. The total volume of the barrels on the property cannot exceed 110 gallons.
  • Rain can only be harvested from the home’s downspout. The downspout must be directed into the rain barrel.
  • Water collected in a rain barrel can only be used on the property where it was harvested.
  • Rainwater is only to be used for outdoor purposes, like watering lawns, gardens and outdoor plants. It can be used to wash cars.
  • Rainwater cannot be used for drinking, laundry, toilets or for animals.

You can find out more information about the new law here.