Rain Capture Laws

  • Brandel Valico
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Brandel Valico replied the topic: Rain Capture Laws


Full Definition of CAPTURE
: an act or instance of capturing: as
a : an act of catching, winning, or gaining control by force, stratagem, or guile
b : a move in a board game (as chess or checkers) that gains an opponent's piece
c : the absorption by an atom, nucleus, or particle of a subatomic particle that often results in subsequent emission of radiation or in fission
d : the act of recording in a permanent file <data capture>
: one that has been taken (as a prize ship)

Full Definition of DETAIN
transitive verb
: to hold or keep in or as if in custody <detained by the police for questioning>
obsolete : to keep back (as something due) : withhold
: to restrain especially from proceeding <was detained by a flat tire>

I'd argue that holding it for the watering of plants is detaining not capturing the rain water. As your not claiming you own it or stopping others from access to it or holding it by force.

Still Colorado law covers that as well. You can redirect to landscape but not impede or delay or store rainfall. Just amazing Michigan actually encourages this.

Wow you can't even store grey water. That's just nuts.

Still I didn't find anything against collecting it via a solar still.

Add one to your landscaping put a 5 gallon bucket down there and redirect your water spouts towards your landscaping. Change the bucket when full to store the water. Upside works even when it isn't raining as well sunlight is required. Downside slow.


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Johannes (Yoshio) replied the topic: Rain Capture Laws

Did I got it right that in parts of the US you are not allowed to detain or capture rain water?
I guess here in Europe or at least in Germany and Austria no one would even think about that doing something like that could be forbidden. When we still had a house with a garden we always used the rain water which we collected in a big barrel to water our plants in the garden. So, coming from the definitions we would have detained the rain water from going straight into the ground but the result, collecting the water and watering our garden plants, in the end would still have been the same so why should something like that be against a law? :ponder

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  • Kol Drake
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Kol Drake replied the topic: Rain Capture Laws

Correct. Collecting rainwater is actually illegal in some US states. Or, illegal unless one files for special permits/rights.

Most of this goes back 100 years or more when folks were still claiming land and water rights.
Example from Colorado -- say 3 people stake out claims for water on a river which normally 'generates' 5 cubic gallons of water per day. The oldest claim gets 'first rights' -- say 2 cubic feet of water per day. Second gets 2 and last gets the remaining 1. IF, the river changes or there is drought and only can provide 3 cubics... the first person still gets their 2, the second only 1 and the third gets nothing -- according to water laws.

It is only in the last couple of years that SOME states are realizing that rain (barrel) capture -- even a few hundred gallons from roof runoff is less than 3% of the whole and does not take away from the replenishment of the aquafers and normal rain/water cycles and are slowly allowing the laws to 'allow' folks to get rainwater for their own use.

There are some states/counties where it is still illegal -- not so much determined by water rights but health reasons since standing barrels or tubs of water tend to be ideal breeding grounds for mosquitos and other nasty insects.

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  • Memnoich
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Memnoich replied the topic: Rain Capture Laws

From the NCSL {National Conference of State Legislatures} Website

NEW CO HB 1044 empowers any local city, county, or city and county to pass a resolution that will allow the use of graywater for beneficial uses. Permitted sources of graywater include: bathroom and laundry sinks, dishwashers, bathtubs, showers and laundry machines. Graywater may not be collected from: toilets, urinals, kitchen sinks, dishwashers, or non-laundry utility sinks.

Prior to adopting a resolution allowing graywater, the county or municipal governing body is encouraged to consult with the local board of health, local health agencies, and wastewater service providers concerning the use of graywater and proper installation and operation of graywater works. Further, graywater must be used in accordance with all contracts, decrees, and well permits that govern the use of groundwater, and the Colorado Ground Water Commission may promulgate standards and requirements to encourage the use of graywater and protect public health and water quality. Under the bill, any water user that is supplied by a municipal or industrial water provider, or any person withdrawing water from a small capacity well may use graywater and install a graywater treatment work. Additionally, the use of graywater is limited to the “confines of the operation that generates the graywater.”

Colorado had some of the nation’s strictest rainwater harvest laws, essentially prohibiting the practice. In 2009, two laws were passed that loosened restrictions.
CO SB 80 allowed residential property owners who rely on certain types of wells to collect and use rainwater. Colorado Revised Statutes §37-90-105
CO HB 1129 authorized 10 pilot projects where captured precipitation was used in new real estate developments for non-potable uses. Colorado Revised Statutes §37-60-115

Colorado Division of Water Resources outlined information on SB 80
Colorado Legislative Council Issue Brief on SB 80 and HB 1129 and Rainwater Harvesting in Colorado
Criteria and guidelines for pilot projects

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