why couldn’t people collect rainwater in Colorado?

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why couldn’t people collect rainwater in Colorado?

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Colorado’s underground aquifer, which is fed by rainwater, in turn feeds into certain river systems that supply water to dry, lower altitude places. Colorado, of course, isn’t exactly a rainforest itself, so that supply needs to be balanced. Collecting rainwater prevents it from refilling the aquifer, so they restrict that.

Has to do with water being a managed natural resource, and water rights. A simple example – imagine a farmer who lives at the bottom of a mountain and he relies on the river getting a certain amount of water in it from rainfall and snowmelt to water his crops. But now people are collecting the rainwater, which affects the total amount of water in the river, which affects how effectively the farmer can water his crops.

So to prevent that some states put limits on how much water a person can collect and what type of systems they can use to collect water. It seems kind of strange, because the farmer might not have any sort of direct claim on the land where the water flows into the river, but still has some right to water usage.

I don’t know about Colorado specifically, but some municipalities used to ban rainwater collection because of revenue. Sewers need to be maintained, but it’s hard to meter how much sewage a household generates so sewage billing is tied to your water bill. Some people thought if you collected rainwater and used it to flush your toilet, you wouldn’t be paying your fair share of sewage costs.

I live in Colorado and I thought this was a rule everywhere (well not everywhere obviously but in the US) and that it was just a really stupid rule for no reason now I get it lol

Places ban rain water collection because of down stream impacts. Let’s say you have a farm you buy on a river. Now when you bought that farm the river played into the pricing because it has water for your crops. If someone up stream builds a dam and traps all the water for their farm you’d be pissed right? Cause they’re effectively denying you water you paid for when you purchased river side land. Collecting rain water is like a mini version of that. It doesn’t block all your water, but say I am a farmer and put out 100 barrels to collect rain water in a storm. If you live down stream some of that water I’m collecting would have entered the ground and found it’s way into the river and thus to you. I have effectively stopped you from receiving river water you are entitled to by putting out those barrels.

Now is it a bit dumb? Maybe. But in a very dry season you’d be pissed if rain finally came upstream and everyone collected it not allowing that rain to flow down to your farm that needs that water since it’s a dry season.

Water comes from the sky but then is channeled into streams, lakes, and the like in a chain. Human civilization springs up in places assuming that chain will be unbroken.

If someone does something upstream that prevents the normal amount of water from getting downstream, then there are negative consequences to the whole of society. As such, the people downstream do have a say, via their governments, in what the people upstream do.

Rainwater is basically “upstream” of *everything.* Collecting rainwater is therefore a bit like building a dam without asking anyone else who lives down the river.

If every house gutter system in colorado was capable of collecting one millionth of a percent of total rainfall, I’d be surprised.

Wish somebody would show me how a drop of water hitting my property, absorbed or evaporated almost immediate has an effect on downstream supply. Now I have to collect that drop of water I couldn’t collect from the river.

That drop that absorbed was used by my plants. That drop that evaporated will soon be rain in Indonesia. Taking from the river is the exact same effect.

It’s all about control and 100 year old water rights.

New Mexico encourages rain water collection.

right ok, other states have rights to the water. but people collecting water doesn’t take it out if the system though..? doesn’t everyone use their rain barrels to water their yard? and then doesn’t it go back to the aquifer??

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