Colorado will join other states across the nation allowing residents to collect rainwater from their rooftops.
The bill, allowing Coloradans to collect rain water from residential properties was signed into law this past May by Governor Hickenlooper and goes into effect Wednesday, August 10.
“People need to realize water is a finite product, there’s only so much,” said Max Schmidt, manager of the Orchard Mesa Irrigation District.
The law that allows residents to collect and store 110 gallons of rain water per year, as long as they put it back into the ground, was applauded by conservation groups across the state. Conservation Colorado said the rain barrels are “a very important tool for people to become more informed about their water use and our water limitations in the West.”
Schmidt said while water conservation is important, rain barrels will only have a minimal, if any, effect in the Grand Valley.
“If they can collect enough for one irrigation a year it may make a little bit of a difference,” he said. “But with the amount of rain fall we have it makes you feel good about it, that’s the best I can say.”
Tony Winter, a Palisade resident said, “It really doesn’t rain that much, so you’re not going to collect that much and what you do you’re usually worried about mosquitoes.”
Because of that lack of rain water, Winter said he’ll continue to use ditch water from the river to water his garden. Even though the implementation of rain barrels is in part for water conservation and education, that’s something Winter said he’s thought about for a while.
“Well you go to think about where you live, you live in the desert, so you really should think about it all the time anyway,” he said.
There are some restrictions in collecting rain water. It can only be collected from residential properties,such as a single family home or multi-family home with four or fewer units. No permit is required to collect rainwater, however, residents can only collect a maximum of 110 gallons per year. Rain barrels must have sealable lids to prevent insects or mosquitoes from collecting inside, and all rain water must be returned only to the property from which it was collected.