(UR) Denver — Recently, the Colorado House passed H.B. 1005, a bill that would make legal the residential use of rain barrels. The vote was near-unanimous at 61-3, and marks the second attempt by the House at lifting the ban on collecting rain water.
Last year, a bill similar to H.B. 1005 — which would legalize the catching of 110 gallons of rainwater per household — was allowed to expire on the Senate floor without a vote. The primary argument against both these efforts has been that catching water will disrupt the flow downstream to other homes and businesses that need it.
But it seems for most Coloradans, this logic doesn’t hold.
As a Denver Post editorial, citing a study by Colorado State University, stated: “Based on CSU modeling … the bill would allow the capture at most of 2.5 percent of rain on a given residential lot — assuming the barrels were used in each rainstorm — most of which would be deposited soon on nearby gardens.”
The same Post editorial questioned the reasoning behind the ban in the first place: “If Coloradans can shovel snow onto their lawns in order to water grass, why can’t they collect rainwater from their roofs in order to water their tomatoes?”
In support of the passage of H.B 1005, the Greeley Tribune also targeted the common sense aspects of such a ban: “Logistically, it simply doesn’t make sense. When water runs down a roof, into a gutter and down the side of a house, it gets re-directed into the lawn or gardens. With a rain barrel, the water would run into a container and then be used to water the lawn or gardens at a later date.”
Colorado is currently the only state in the country to ban the use of rain barrels. This could change when H.B. 1005 eventually makes its way to the Colorado Senate. The question now is whether or not the Senate — the same body that allowed last year’s effort to disintegrate — will pull the same type of move again.
Pete Maysmith, Executive Director of Conservation Colorado, seems hopeful that the House vote reflects changing sentiment on an issue whose time has come.
“The people of Colorado have spoken and their elected representatives have listened,” Maysmith said in a statement released after the House vote. “Citizens in our state want the senseless ban on rain barrels to be lifted so they can use this conservation tool to water their lawns and gardens. We couldn’t be more thrilled that this important bill has cleared its first house on the path to becoming law.”
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