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Collecting rainwater now illegal in many states...

 
T. Joy
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Is this for real? How can this be for real?

http://www.naturalnews.com/029286_rainwater_collection_water.html
 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
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craftylittlemonkey wrote:
Is this for real? How can this be for real?

http://www.naturalnews.com/029286_rainwater_collection_water.html


It's easy to understand.  Just think of whatever is the most sensible and efficient thing to do and then assume the system is going to do the exact opposite.  We truly live in bizarro world. 
 
T. Joy
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A friend cleared up this mystery for me today.

" Monsanto's RR crops require up to 7 times more irrigation than conventional crops. With the privatization of fresh water supplies in both developing countries and industrialized nations, this translates into Trillions more in profit... "

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/blue-gold-world-water-wars/

sigh.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Fortunately, digging in your yard is not illegal, so collecting rainwater in the soil is still possible.  This is also the most efficient way to collect rain, though of course you can't drink it or wash with it, just eat it!

http://www.harvestingrainwater.com/
 
                              
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First, let me say that I am not in any way defending the status quo.  I hope to give some general idea of how things are, and how they came to be.  I am not an expert.

Yes, this is real.

A hundred and more years ago, the "natural" thought process was that most of the water falling from the skies found its way into local (and distant) water sources (rivers, lakes, oceans).  It was "obvious" to everyone that rain falling down and running into a stream into a river to the ocean replenished those sources.

Additionally, the attitude of "first in time, first in right" held sway.  If you were the first person to register a use for local water, you had first rights to that water source, and everyone after you had to make do with what you didn't use.  Later, when large scale industry and agriculture came to dominate, these senior water rights were sold off.  Also, you can lose your water right(s) if you don't "use" as much water as you are entitled to use.

In Colorado we have an insane patchwork of senior/junior water rights, with water from the mountains divided and subdivided and sub-subdivided among a plethora of users, from industry to melon growers hundred of miles away, to downstream states and their ever-expanding cities.  There exist compacts, legal agreements, between states and municipalities stipulating how much of which water source is reserved for various parties.  It's a mess.

The two laws mentioned in the article are an important first step, and the Douglas County study is an important first bit of research, but it's only a beginning.  The laws only really pertain to property owners who have or could have a water well.  I hope to get a water harvesting permit on my remote property when the time comes, but even if I do, there will be restrictions on amount and type(s) of use.

Keep in mind, Colorado receives less than 20" of precipitation per year.  Mountain areas can get 60", but some valley areas get less than 10".  We just had a "winter snow" in my area, the eastern plains; maybe 2" of light dry snow fell yesterday, and was mostly gone by afternoon.  The precipitation doesn't really soak in much, as the wind and sun evaporate it away.  So, everyone who thinks about water (few do) tries to keep it around as long as possible.

While "they" say they won't go after backyard water catchers, that's a weak promise at best.  While some folks do catch roof runoff, they do it on the sneak, so to speak, because you never know who is watching and waiting to make trouble.

It's hard to describe to people from wetter climates just how dry it is here.  We've had fire danger warnings through most winters, because everything is so dry.  This isn't to justify these laws.  I think the laws need to change, and that Big Business and Corporate Agriculture need restraining.  Homeowners and small growers should IMO be able to use what water falls on their property or area of control/responsibility without fear of shackles or fines.

I hope this helps.  I'm not an expert, merely someone who has read a bit here and there.  If others are more educated, I hope they speak up and present the situation better than I can.
 
T. Joy
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A friend in WA also may not collect rain water. He said today "I don't know the reason why. Probably money since I don't live anywhere near salmon runs or agricultural areas. The city sends out water quality reports annually and every few years there is a little reminder that we cannot collect rainwater or we will be fined."

This is also true in Toronto, you can't have a rain barrel.

 
maikeru sumi-e
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craftylittlemonkey wrote:
Is this for real? How can this be for real?

http://www.naturalnews.com/029286_rainwater_collection_water.html


It's not now illegal, it has been illegal for a long time. I've known about this for a long time. Until this year I haven't seriously considered doing anything with the former orchard I have, because the state had banned rainwater collection and the irrigation system on my property was damaged by the city with bulldozers, I think in the hope to encourage me to sell the property and let developers in. Things are different here. So different...

IIRC, it's possible to collect some rainwater now for irrigation and garden use from the roof, but we can't exceed a certain small limit and we have to apply to the local city to get an "approved" rainwater barrel and a license which must be renewed yearly. You should also know that keeping backyard chickens was illegal until last year too, and they still have nonsensical restrictions in place. It's still draconian.

btw, this is part of the reason it's been a bit more difficult to implement certain permaculture practices here and I've not bothered to pursue certain projects. State laws have limited and prevented key permaculture practices like explicit rainwater harvesting and keeping certain kinds of farm animals even as pets. And it's difficult to fight the mindset.
 
                        
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I know that here in Iowa after the flooding in 2008 (and we're expecting flooding again this spring) local agencies are actively working to get people to harvest rainwater.  The thinking is that if enough people can harvest rainwater now (on the assumption they'll be using it to water lawns and gardens) that will delay that water's introduction into the streams and rivers, thus minimizing the amount of water available for flooding.
 
John Polk
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Makes me think, hmm.  If the city owns the water on my roof, wouldn't they be responsible for any damage it caused to my property?  Next time I have snow on my roof, I should call them to come get it.  May as well have them clear their snow off of my driveway while they're here.

 
Erik Green
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The article is kind of interesting in that it claims Utah is the second driest state in this corrupted nation.

With that in mind, why would a business go to the expense of installing a rainwater collection system, of which would not provide enough water for the proposed application of washing numerous cars.

I mean its interesting that there are "laws" limiting people from rain water collection. 

We need laws limiting public lands from being stripped of natural resources and oil drilling.  Oh, sorry, we need Universal INFORCEMENT of laws such as that.

Here in WI I think the state was trying to give the barrels away.  If there is anything the great lakes region has, its clean usable water. 
 
                    
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Erikgreen wrote:
...s the second driest state in this corrupted nation.

With that in mind, why would a business go to the expense of installing a rainwater collection system,


Because like the rest of the SW when it rains it is often a deluge. A lot of water can be caught in a short time. Same in places like the Australian desert.
 
Tyler Ludens
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maikeru wrote:

btw, this is part of the reason it's been a bit more difficult to implement certain permaculture practices here and I've not bothered to pursue certain projects. State laws have limited and prevented key permaculture practices like explicit rainwater harvesting and keeping certain kinds of farm animals even as pets. And it's difficult to fight the mindset.


I think it's possible to get around  most restrictions in some way, though I've found people are often so very worried about "the authorities" not approving of what they are doing that they won't go ahead and try different things because they feel they are being prevented, even though they actually are not being prevented from living how they want.  Example, people who believe there are laws against growing food in your yard, even though nobody has ever been able to cite such a law, a lot of people believe such laws exist.  It's a shame people allow their freedom to be inhibited in this way, just from fear. 

 
Tyler Ludens
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Ok, here's an example of how you might get around restrictions on rainwater collection: Instead of just allowing the water from your gutters to run into your yard, you could install a decorative pond and direct the water to the pond.  A pond is not a rain barrel.  Put some goldfish in there to keep down mosquitoes.
 
maikeru sumi-e
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Ludi wrote:
I think it's possible to get around  most restrictions in some way, though I've found people are often so very worried about "the authorities" not approving of what they are doing that they won't go ahead and try different things because they feel they are being prevented, even though they actually are not being prevented from living how they want.  Example, people who believe there are laws against growing food in your yard, even though nobody has ever been able to cite such a law, a lot of people believe such laws exist.  It's a shame people allow their freedom to be inhibited in this way, just from fear. 




They've humbled me with bulldozers and dead trees.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Don't give up! 
 
Al Loria
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craftylittlemonkey wrote:
A friend cleared up this mystery for me today.

" Monsanto's RR crops require up to 7 times more irrigation than conventional crops. With the privatization of fresh water supplies in both developing countries and industrialized nations, this translates into Trillions more in profit...


And, as proof, the anti-union bill that passed in WI stripped the rights of unions to know when a service is being privatized.  From what I heard, what is in the bill states that the state of WI can sell the water utility to a private corp. without competitive bidding.  Corruption anyone? 

http://privatizationwatch.org/
 
George Lee
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I will shoot anyone who touches my rainbarrel(s). Luckily my farm is in a private natural preserve hardly traffiked by anyone but the few residents and local farmers. The elite and their tireless desire for profit (by any means) can kiss my ass.
 
Emerson White
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The "now" in the title falsely implies that it hasn't been illegal since before our grandparents were born. (and by that I mean 150 years)
 
                                              
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  A thought Ive had on this is.... what if you are in a rural place and have a septic system? perhaps even a safe clean grey water system if its legal? In those cases since the water would be somewhat more concentrated in its release, MORE water would be getting to the water tables, true  so then what is the point in banning it?

  now taken a step further, what if you did things to increase water permeation on the land, and mulches of whatever types whether organic matter or rocks.... again MORE water would be getting to the water table.

  so really theres zero reason to have such things illegal. it would not benefit those downstream in any way. in fact it could convince folks to best fill water tables which would mean more for those downstream so to speak......

 
 
Tyler Ludens
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SILVERSEEDS wrote:
 

   so really theres zero reason to have such things illegal. it would not benefit those downstream in any way. in fact it could convince folks to best fill water tables which would mean more for those downstream so to speak......

   


Exactly.  There's every reason to give incentives to people to repair and improve watersheds, what with all the water problems so many regions are experiencing these days. 
 
Emerson White
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Using swales (on inclines) and mulches and keyline contours it totally legal, because those slow the water down but let it run off your property. It's just catchment systems that aren't a retention pond is illegal. Interestingly a well is legal because these regulation predate pumps and only address surface water.
 
                        
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Thank you for this topic- I had not thought about this topic in these terms before.  Growing up in Los Angeles I did realize that there are significant factors to determining who "owns" water.  The state of CO (I am not sure which government agency) leases a lot of water rights to LA, as do many upstate counties in CA.  I think as water usage and privatization increases this topic is going to resurface with increasing frequency.  Let's hope there are more people working to secure necessary water and not only exorbitant amounts to sell off for money, either solely as water or in processed and refined goods.
 
David Glenn
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Sorry folks its only the apathy and lack of action by the common folk that allows this kind of Crap to happen.
But I guess being a slave to huge corporations or governments has the advantage of not being responsible for your own life.
just a couple of cents
 
Max Kennedy
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Instead of having perfectly flat lawns put in slight scallops that collect the rain and allow water to permeate the soil.  Think rain garden in miniature.
 
Dale Hodgins
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    Many of the rainwater rules are meant to keep the Colorado flowing so that completely unnatural things like lawns in Las Vegas and cotton and alfalfa production in dry parts of California can continue.   The simplest way to circumvent these rules without being caught would be to sculpt your land in a manner that produces small gulches and to plant appropriate vegetation to suck up the water. I doubt that roof catchment would be policed very heavily if at all.    As for rain barrel restrictions in wetter climates there is one very real reason why this might be restricted. A poorly managed system can breed millions of mosquitoes per season. I had such a system which upon sampling contained several mosquito larvae per cubic inch. Public education concerning mosquito management might be in order. A dab of vegetable oil killed mine.
 
                              
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Just to follow up on one point from an earlier post.  I recently attended a rainwater harvesting workshop in Colorado Springs, put on by the local permaculture/transition town people.

Apparently, in Colorado, it is legal to harvest rainwater in barrels, etc., and also to improve water infiltration on one's property.  The big concern are mosquitoes and foul standing water, so the big rule is to release any stored water after three (3) days.

I'm not sure how often "they" check for rainwater harvesting setups, assuming they do.  I suppose a complaint of smelly water and/or hordes of skeeters would demand imperial involvement.  A nice safe setup shouldn't cause problems.
 
                                          
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Like many laws on the books there is little power to enforce water catchment restrictions.  The counties, states and cities are broke and laying off law enforcement officers.  Unless a complaint is registered look for no action.  Even then inspectors may not cite you for violation.  Zoning laws, building permits and health laws may be enforced. 
My nieghbor has decided  that my activities make her ill and has called in every county and state enforcement agency she could l think of.  She even went so far as to try to buy unpasturized butter from us.  Her complaints were regarding odor and flies from animals, biodiesel making, compost pile spoiling her air, and wind generator noise.  The inspection by three different agencies resulted in only one citation.  That was my wind generators had no permit, which was not required 10 years ago when installed but now is.  Cost me $107 and a visit by a building inspector lasting 10 min.  They examined my composting system, grey water system, water catchment, well and water storage, wind generators, animal pens, biodiesel production facility and storage.  They all ignored the aquaponic systems, pond, solar systems, and large diesel generator and humanure
 
                            
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Pretty soon they'll ticket folks with pools and stock tanks for violating!
 
Bill Kearns
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In Washington, this is my story and I'm sticking to it: 

Rainwater collection is certainly nothing new; humans have been doing it for thousands of years.  However, with the advent of cheap, potable water delivered right to your doorstep, those who harvest rain have become somewhat of an anomaly.  This is changing in Washington State, largely for three reasons:

    Rainwater collection can be a tool in the stormwater management toolbox,
    Rainwater collection can be an eco-friendly water supply,
    Rainwater collection projects can be a sound investment not only monetarily but for the Puget Sound.

On October 12, 2009, Ecology issued an Interpretive Policy Statement clarifying that a water right is not required for rooftop rainwater harvesting.  There is also a Focus Sheet on this subject – see the links in the right column.


from here:  http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/hq/rwh.html
 
Fred Winsol
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John Polk wrote:
Makes me think, hmm.  If the city owns the water on my roof, wouldn't they be responsible for any damage it caused to my property?  Next time I have snow on my roof, I should call them to come get it.  May as well have them clear their snow off of my driveway while they're here.



I love this!  Everyone should start calling up their local agencies where rainwater harvesting is illegal and overload them with 'maintenance' calls. 

I wonder what the fine is if one is 'caught collecting rainwater'.  Has anyone ever been fined? what's the penalty per 1,000 gallons?
 
                            
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winsol3 wrote:
I love this!  Everyone should start calling up their local agencies where rainwater harvesting is illegal and overload them with 'maintenance' calls. 

I wonder what the fine is if one is 'caught collecting rainwater'.  Has anyone ever been fined? what's the penalty per 1,000 gallons?


If your roof leaks, can you get the city to come repair the damage 'their' water has done to your property? 
 
Randy Acton
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The corruption, arrogance amd sheer stupidity of our government is amazing.

I wonder if somehow, someway, someone will figure out how to get subsidies from a ban on rainwater collection and take the federal stupidity to a whole new level.
 
Barrett Johanneson
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The only states I knew had criminalized collecting rainwater were Utah and Colorado, but that Colorado had re-saned and allowed the practice, leaving Utah out in the cold. In any case, I did want to connect back to permaculture and report this finding in regard to mosquito control in rainwater from the Luther Burbank website. It seems that our perennial friend the Opuntia ficus-indica can produce an oily substance that kills mosquito larvae. According to the site, juice from the 'thalli' (pads or nopales) *"can be spread on water, like petroleum, to smother mosquito larvae (lasts up to a year, according to tests in central Africa, reported in Scientific American, 1911). I know I had seen conversations of this type before, folks talking about how to suppress mosquito larvae from their rain barrels, so I wanted to connect the dots before I lost them. (And if you'd like to trade your Opuntia spp. for seeds, cuttings, and the like, message me!) *Spineless Cactus | Luther Burbank Home & Gardens
 
Neil Evansan
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As has already been said, it's primarily only 2 states involved with this level of restrictions, but there are other areas/jurisdictions with similar rules/laws.

I trust EVERYONE who posted in this thread actually knows their local use laws and restrictions and guidelines? And that they also know who their local agencies are that are assigned these areas of responsibilities? and that they know the PEOPLE in those agencies, and how to deal with them?

It's sooooo easy to point and blame "dem damn revenoors!" for all of our problems, but as several posters here have said, their local use agencies were looking at how to HELP people figure out how to KEEP the water on their land. If you are continually having problems dealing with local government, agencies, entities, officials or employees, I'd encourage you to look at that person in the mirror and determine how much responsibility that person has in the "problem equation." it ain't all the fault of the government official.

how some local governments solve problems rather than exacerbate - in Portland OR mid-80s, there was the realization that the original water lines and sewer lines needed to be replaced, which was going to entail several MAJOR public works projects over several decades to plan, build and complete. One thing they found in their preliminary inventories - ALL the drains in the city fed into the sewer system, forcing hundreds of millions of gallons of (relatively) clean water through the sanitation process, making that system slower and adding considerable to the cost. They realized they could save hundreds of millions of up-front and on-going $$$ by designing the system to handle only what the system needed to handle - sewage, not water-logged sewage.

The Counties and several of the Cities started a campaign to disconnect roof downspouts from the drain systems. Incentives included "paying" each household up to $100 per downspout. When I arranged a property tour to qualify for the $100 level, I showed the Inspector what I'd already done years earlier, so not only did the 6 house downspouts qualify, so did 4 other yard/hill collection points as well as 2 more in my 1/4 acre raised beds.

Get to know your local codes and local conditions, so you can talk intelligently about solution, instead of just pointing fingers at everyone else. If you move to the SoCal desert (Yes, San Diego and LA ARE desert) expecting the local governments to water and feed you, think again. how will YOU moving to an arid climate with little local water support sustainability? In what ways will YOU make a positive difference to the entirety of the locality?

 
Faith Smith
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Florida is working on passing this right now. I hope you are right about getting around it. I guess it depends what sex one is on the mirror thing. I've already experinced losing my rights when a condom slipped off. I still am on the side of humanity, though am not naive enough to believe I have freedom. Fai
 
Ken Miller
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It is legal to harvest rainwater in Washington state. It has been since 2008.
 
Zachary Crawford
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http://www.harvesth2o.com/statues_regulations.shtml#ga

check to see the laws where you live
 
Andrew Parker
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As of May 11, 2010, rainwater harvesting in the State of Utah has been legal (that's over two months prior to the publication date of the Natural News article.) You can read details here:

http://www.conservewater.utah.gov/Rainwater%20Harvesting/RWHwebpage3A.pdf

http://www.waterrights.utah.gov/wrinfo/faq.asp#q1


2500 gallons is not very much water in the grand scheme of things, but it can help. Changing the water retention capacity of your landscaping is probably the best answer to the problem as far as irrigation is concerned. As long as you are not impounding the water, you remain within your rights.
 
Nathan King
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Monsanto's CEO's are all overgrown children that never learned how to share anything.
 
nancy sutton
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Sorry, can't let that slight to children stand. Studies have demonstrated that toddlers usually spontaneously move to share/help when they see another person in distress.

I think we are talking 'sociopath' re: Monsanto CEO's here ... check out "The Sociopath Next Door" for a quick and easy education. (Also, I just watched the documentary about Peter Proctor in India, so can still 'smell' the sulphur fumes.)
 
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