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ActivismWater

Who Does Rainwater Belong To?

2559204822_ba270ba647 One of the greatest steps forward that local communities have taken of late is the push to collect rainwater to offset your water use. It is often an easy way to help out the environment and, in the long run, simply save water. There don’t really seem to be any catches to it either. Rain falls from the sky, hits your roof and runs in to your drums or barrels or tanks.

If only it were that simple.

Notch up another one for the members of the Idiots Anonymous who have apparently been camping out in Bellingham, Washington. Apparently, rainwater doesn’t actually belong to individuals, but to the state as a whole. Therefore, all the wonderful efforts of communities to collect water are actually illegal.

Not just frowned upon, or morally unethical, or shifty – all of which water collection is not – but actually illegal, so much so that in the future such legalities could be used in a court of law.

It comes down once again to the simple fact that humanity is doomed to an ever continuing cycle of idiot and misanthropic events and situations that will, eventually, simply wear down those of us with half a brain, and leave planet Earth populated by half-wits and mimes (often the same thing).

This information is coming to us from the Bellingham Herald, who recently ran a story entitled “Does saving rainwater violate state law?” by Jennifer Langston. “We’re not going to start issuing permits for a pickle barrel in the backyard. But what if it’s four pickle barrels or a system that has 20,000 gallons of storage?” said Brian Walsh, a manager in the Department of Ecology’s water resources program.

Mr. Walsh, manager of the Department of Ecology, who the hell cares if it’s 2 million! It is rainwater you simpleton. It is wet water, falling from the clouds in the sky, on to roof’s and paddocks which may very well be decked out with enough pickle barrels to quench the thirst of a small army, like Canada’s. But unless someone is filling their aforementioned barrel from a river or other form of wet estuary, what right minded individual is going to attempt to enforce this law?

According to Langston, Seattle has obtained a citywide water-right permit, which allows for rain to be collected from most rooftops in the city. The “most” there refers to the few neighborhoods, mostly areas north of 85th street that see their stormwater empty into creeks and streams and lakes.

Just how is this stormwater making its way from Joe Bloggs’ roof and backyard out in to the streets and gutters so that it can then run into whatever lake lies at the end of it. How much rain is already soaked up by the grass that covers many a backyard? Is that grass acting illegally hogging all that water for itself?

If this law is not soon revoked, then my faith in humanity will once again drop another few notches down. And while Washington state lawmakers may not be out to please Joshua S. Hill of Melbourne, Australia, one can at least hope that they are going to try and use at least a modicum of common sense. It’d be a change, sure, but it’s a change for the better!

Update – thanks to cchiovitti who, in the comments below, alerted us to the fact that Eastern Colorado also has similar restrictions on who owns rainwater. Make sure to leave a comment if your state has decided to take a leave of absence from their senses as well.

credit: Pete Baugh at Flickr under a Creative Commons license




79 comments
  1. Bhaltair

    I live in Bellingham, Wa. Yes, the rainwater technically belongs to the city. The front drains on your home go to the sewer system, and the back drains go to the ecosystem. I live with a greenbelt behind me, and the wildlife requires the water from runoff to live. That water feeds ponds which bring wildlife to your area. As thinking economically, I agree with you when it’s surprising that the city could own the water that lands on it, but it’s not really about ownership. It’s more about the environment and the ecology of the area.

    By the way, you’re totally wrong when it comes to rain barrels and Bellingham. The city even provides water barrels to the right places within.

    http://www.cob.org/services/environment/water-quality/residential-stormwater-retrofit-program.aspx

    Do some more research before you all slam my city 🙂 We’re very green here!

  2. Jan Myers

    I live in Washington state, and haven’t heard of this down here in South Bend. Time to start writing letters to the Governor again, and the rest of the air heads collecting paychecks in Olympia.
    Just goes to show us not all the idiots are in Washington, DC.

  3. Christie

    We just moved to Purcellville, VA and the town encourages us to use rain barrels! In our ‘welcome packet’ they even include a pamphlet on how to set up a rain barrel. I think that a city/state trying to claim rainwater is ridiculous. Cities should be encouraging rain water collection…after all it keeps you from drawing on their water source!

  4. Drought cant Cool

    You cry about rain water but you let power plants use trillions of gallons of freshwater each day. As much as 70% of that freshwater is Evaporated. If you really cared about a water shortage I suggest you demand the power co. to Desalinate thier cooling water from the ocean and the left over desalinated water be added to our aquifer. I can live without power but nobody can live without water!

  5. Loren

    oh, and by the way, Leslie is totally right. If the state owns the water, they should pay for flooding damages and snow removal, as well as in-state water transportation through pipes and such.

  6. Loren

    I agree with David from New Mexico that farmers need rain water for their crops. However, it shouldn’t be illegal to collect water from your own storm drain that falls on your own roof. If it falls on your roof, it’s on your property and a few gallons from your roof won’t hurt the farmer’s crops. It won’t. If someone diverted water from flowing into a farmer’s land then sure it can be punishable by law.In some cases, though, actions that are considered “green” to protect the environment actually hurt the environment, this not being one of them. There’s no problem with drinking rain water off your roof. Seriously.

  7. Argiris

    I liked the article. Sorry for my english if mistaken. I am thinking of moving out from big city like Athens – Greece and will stay with my b/f to an island. We were thinking of making some kind of ecological awakeness so i would like to know more about that law thing about water. If it comes from up above why should i go against the law if i collect it into a barrel or so?? Well, thank you for your time.

  8. Leslie

    I would think that whoever is laying claim to rain water would therefore be responsible for damaged property due to rain or flooding. The state would also need to be responsible for snow removal of private properties. Ownership is not all about the positive. Ownership also comes with responsibility and I would hold the owners responsible.

    Citizens of Colorado should asses all rain and water damage to their properties and turn them into the state of Colorado for repair and compensation.
    Further, the state of Colorado should be held responsible for snow removal to all private properties where “their” precipitation has inconvenienced people. If a landowner is forced to remove snow from their private roads and sidewalks they should bill the state for their time and inconvenience.

  9. b from b'ham

    So how, exactly, is calling Bellingham “idiots anonymous” not getting angry or trying to solve things? It is a state law, and our paper was smart enough to point it out. Don’t get me wrong, the paper is a one-sided, anti-progressive, anti-enviro rag, but at least we are thinking about this stuff in our town. Geez.

    The article points it out: this is a state with a very wet side–where most of the population is–and a very dry side–where most of the agriculture is, and some contentious water use issues. Also developers are using our “exempt well” law mentioned by an earlier commenteer to build large suburban sprawl where it doesn’t belong. A statewide law will never be perfect for all communities. Instead of striing such laws, they need to be refined.

    And you need to be nice, too. 🙂

  10. David

    @CorruptSoul – I did not write the article, just stating the facts as they stand here in town. Getting angry doesn’t solve much of anything.

    And thank you Zachary, for being rational and explaining why some of these laws exist. It is awfully “American” of some to instantly think of ways to sue others for something that has been going on for hundreds of years to protect our food and livestock.

    As for the guy that mentioned the NM “law”, that is in fact not a law, just a recommendation. Local laws supercede the recommendations in places like where I live. I don’t necessarily agree with the laws, but I do understand why they are in place. Believe me, I want to collect my rainwater at my house, but I cannot – I would have to move outside of town limits. I guess I would rather have food more than I would rainwater, though.

  11. Lisisme

    I have a vacation home on the island of Ischia in Italy. Ischia has no water table or streams or well digging possibility. It’s a volcanic island and we only have thermal salt water.
    For hundreds of years the roof tops of Ischia homes have been built as small 1 meter deep pools with white washed interior sides. They are cleaned every year. Pipes run from the roof top to reservoirs under each home. The reservoir under my villa is the size of 2 Olympic swimming pools. We collect the rain water. If you build a bigger roof collector or a bigger reservoir you have more water than your neighbor but that would only be done if you needed more water to grow crops. Not because you are hoarding from the skies.
    Eels are kept in the reservoirs to keep the water clean and are also eaten at Christmas time as a delicacy (and to keep the eel population manageable).
    Italians have been “GREEN” for thousands of years before the USA ‘invented’ the notion and we probably never even knew it! Gee – what idiots.

  12. cyberbian

    With ownership comes responsibility. Their rainwater has gotten into my basement again, and they will have to come clean it up and repair the damages!

    I for one am glad that the owner has stepped forward to take responsibility for the wanton destruction caused by their property! They must be held accountable.

  13. Lorilee

    I will therefore when the next dumping occurs that is suceeded in ruining crops, grass, trees, flooding etc be sueing the state for excessive rainfall. See how fast the law gets removed if faced with legal action for the damage of rainfall. Sure they want everyone to go green, but don’t dare try. How dare you live off the grid, not pay for your water, use natural resources that are replenishing.

  14. sabrina walasek

    It’s hard to imagine that this would be illegal. The idea of water not being a human right but rather a commodity is happening all over the world.

    Blue Planet Run Foundation supports water projects, like rain harvesting systems. If you’d like to support this effort, check us out!

  15. Antiglobalist

    This is completely moronic. The globalist system is again pushing to control more of our natural resources, which should belong to local, organic communities, not wealthy oligarchs in Brussel.

  16. Max

    SWEET! I am filling a lawsuit against the government for the water damage to my house that has been caused by the government water sprinkling from the sky onto my house through my leaky roof onto the walls. I can finnaly afford to repair my shack, and so can you!!!

  17. Zachary Tillman

    I’m curious what suggestions people have for alternatives to issuing enforceable water rights. If you build a dam on your property and use the water for your own purposes, the farmer or city downstream that depends on that water is left high & dry so to speak. How American of us to jump to figuring out in which situations we should be able to sue someone b/c some gov’t policy has wronged us. But we digress. The issue of small scale, domestic rainwater collection systems is no issue at all – while we do not yet compensate homeowners for these improvements, rainwater collection w/out a water right is perfectly legal (as long as it falls below a daily volume limit – in Oregon = 15,000 gallons/day).

  18. atyourperil

    This is the situation in the UK too. Every drop of rain belongs to the river authority. That is until it floods when miraculously it ceases to be their responsibility

  19. Dave Williams

    So let me get this straight. We don’t own the water falling onto our property. Therefore, when said water floods basements and cellars, can we sue the OWNERS of the water for damage? Sure, we can…

  20. vicki

    This is ridiculous, here in Australia the government actually encourages us to put in water tanks and some local councils give rebates to home owners who install tanks.New Homes in New South Wales are actually required to have them and planning approval is not granted without one!

  21. Andrew Brown

    The law is similar in Australia. Basically, as soon as the rain hits the ground, it is deemed to belong to “the crown”, which in practice means that the government of the day can make decisions about the way to use that water so it provides the most benefits to the community as a whole. In Australia, this is done through a system of licenses that are quite complex, but at their core, define who gets first go at any water that is available, and what your share might be. Here, and I suspect there, the volumes consumed by people domestically are wildly smaller then the volumes used by agriculture, and can readily be shown to have a much higher value, so there is little or no interest in making householders pay a fee for the right to capture and store rainfall for purposes like drinking, washing, watering the lawn and so on.

    These sorts of rules are more targeted at stopping farmers higher up in catchments building large on farm dams to capture any run off on their properties, which they can then use to grown some kind of irrigated crop (and make more money). This sounds great, except that the water they captured usually is effectively being taken from an irrigator downstream who has been issued with a water share, or more commonly, taken from some water sensitive piece of the environment.

  22. cchiovitti

    LBS said on July 23rd, 2008 at 6:26 pm
    There’s an old saying in the West:

    Whiskey’s for drinkin’, water’s for fightin’ over!

    —-That’s the crux of it. Water has been big business here for a very long time. I’m not sure if “ownership” of water rights is prevalent in other areas or not, but definately a biggie here (Colorado). I do not “own” any of the water or minerals under my property – those rights were sold off ages ago. Most of the mineral rights in my area are owned by the railroads. If I dig a hole out back and find a T-Rex, that’s not mine either. That would fall under the mineral rights. Furthermore, mineral rights include natural gas and yes, the gas company can come out to my property at any time and dig for oil if they decide to. And there’s not a thing I can do about it.

    Sorry to vent, but such is life here. Our best solution to the “no rain barrel” thing is greywater, because once I’ve used it, I technically do “own” that.

  23. Zachary Tillman

    Joe – I assume you’re referring to the author… let’s play nice; not everyone is as learned as you.

  24. Joe

    You are an idiot. Do a little more research in basic Earth science if you really don’t understand the reason for this.

  25. Zachary Tillman

    No need to tear all your hair out… yet. In Oregon (and I think WA as well), certain uses are exempt from the need for a water right. Included in the list of exempt uses is a volumetric (15,000 gal/day) limit for domestic uses such as lawn watering and drinking water. Small scale rainwater collection systems would fall under this provision. Any rainwater collection system in excess of this would certainly be a sight to behold and probably should be regulated in the public realm (which does own the water), as water is a scarce and precious resource. While the notion that conservation minded individuals are being discouraged from sustainability improvements is disturbing, I do not think that WA Dep’t of Ecology will be writing any tickets for individuals implementing environmentally conscious water usage improvements.

  26. rc

    One more, and then I promise to shut up. 😉 For those of us living in New Mexico, no need to worry, here’s the official position of the state:

    “The New Mexico Office of the State Engineer supports the wise and efficient use of the state’s water resources; and, therefore, encourages the harvesting, collection and use of rainwater from residential and commercial roof surfaces for on-site landscape irrigation and other on-site domestic uses.”

    http://www.ose.state.nm.us/water-info/conservation/h2o-policy.html

  27. Lee

    As a fomer Colorado resident who now lives in Washington, I have noticed that rainwater is treated differently in these two regions. In CO, rain is rare; here in WA, we sometimes have more than we know what to do with. Laws against collecting rainwater in CO make a certain amount of sense: five of the nations largest rivers start in the CO Rocky Mountains. If every citizen were to keep his/her rainfall, then the water cycle in the state would be broken and dozens of other states would suffer. This article says that water rights only apply to aquifers and rivers, but one must wonder where that water originates in the first place.

    I believe just as much as the next guy in personal liberty, but we must also consider the common good in our governmental decisions. I agree that a wholesale ban is not effective or desireable, but we must find a happy medium.

  28. rc

    I’ve been thinking about this and I probably should clarify what I mean. No water is destroyed by storing it in a cistern. If you then use that water for local irrigation, all you are doing is changing the timing of when that water hits the ground. Now, there is a separate case (which is not the focus of the article) where some entity collects water, and then transports it elsewhere. This is damaging, as it prevents the water from recharging the local water table. Luckily for us, it is pretty easy to differentiate between these two cases. But, in most cases, the law does not, that’s why these laws are… dumb.

  29. adam

    What if a citizen demands that the city come get their rain water off their car before it starts to leave water spots?

  30. Jesse

    There is a difference between 2 barrels and 20,000 barrels–even in states like Ohio. If you buy up a property and collect vast amounts of rainwater, you’re seriously impacting ground water levels. This could diminish the amount of water, over a period of time, that you have avaialble in your houses’ wells, it could divert water away from rivers, lakes, and streams. More importantly, it could impact wetlands–which act as natural pollution filters and controls for many ecosystems.

    The environment is an open community. If you don’t think you have an impact on the world, you’re mistaken.

    But hey, ignore what the ECOLOGIST says. Ignore what “ecology” means. +1 for knee-jerk reactions.

  31. rc

    I think one other person has mentioned this, but it bears repeating… What happens when rain falls on my roof? It collects, runs off and ends up on the ground, where much of it evaporates, and the rest soaks in. What happens when I save some of that rain water? During the rainy season, a little less evaporates or goes into the ground, then during the dry season I empty out my cistern, and much of it evaporates and the rest goes into the ground. I’m not robbing poor agribiz or some huge desert metroplex of the water they need to live, in fact, all I’m doing is extending the rainy season. And, really, I’m not even doing that since on my property, the area I can collect water from is maybe 5% of the total area. Water collection for local, personal use changes NOTHING. Now, commercial collection for distribution is another matter, but the law ought to be able to distinguish those two cases.

  32. David Cook

    Aloha… I live on the Big Island of Hawaii. Almost all of the rural areas (which is the majority of the island) uses catchment to catch rain water. By law the catchment needs to be a minimum size (I believe 8000 gallons) for fire-fighter support if your house catches on fire. I don’t believe there is an upper limit to size for catchment though there are restrictions on where it can be placed on your property.

    All of the water in my house – 100%, comes from rain (we are one of the wettest places in the world).

    However, I was surprised to recently find out that in the cities, it is indeed illegal to have catchment, though it doesn’t appear to be widely enforced. The only reason I can think (since rain is plentiful here) is it would cut into the revenues of the city water department.

    Personally, I love rain water. I’m on the East side of the island and there is nothing between me and California for 2500 miles. The ocean scrubs the air and the water that falls is very clean and extremely soft (as opposed to hard).

  33. The Big Canuck

    WOW. And Previously I thought American’s Were none to bright to begin with and now this. I am just amazed. Really Rain water. you have got to be kidding me. I’m glad I live in canada

  34. Ian

    Didn’t anyone see the movie 3:10 to Yuma? The reason that the main character had it so bad was that his water had been diverted by someone up creek -his cattle were dying due to someone ‘collecting rain water’ for their own devises. Anyways, I know it is fiction, but there are reasons that these laws exist, and they are not ‘always’ moronic.

    The funny thing is, the same people who complain about wanting to ‘save water in barrels for personal use’ are also often the same people who want to restore salmon habitat in Washington state. It’s funny, most of the runoff from these houses ends up in streams and creeks that are Salmon breeding habitat, without the water there would be nowhere for the Salmon to spawn. Low water levels in streams can have a huge impact on the success of a spawning season for local salmon- I had worked for a Washington Conservation Corp unit restoring Salmon habitat, so I’m not just talking out of my ass here -most yuppie environmentalists are hypocrites and don’t see the big picture. The truth is that a lot of water rights laws in Washington in the last 30 years or so have been passed to help environmental causes as well as traditional agricultural concerns.

    There are actually people who try to think about the big picture, sometimes what we want to do on a small scale has unforeseen implications for the broader good. This is one of those situations where in some places the laws make sense -however there are many water rights laws that need to be reviewed, especially the large amount of water being traded as a commodity among people trying to make a quick buck. Water is the lifeblood of the agricultural system of the United States, without it our economy would crash and burn.

  35. Steve Sorensen

    To this resident of the recently flooded midwest, it seems like a great idea for individuals to harvest rainwater, even 20,000 gallons. Too many metro areas are just too efficient at channeling all of their rainwater to storm sewers, then to the river, adding to the flooding problem. If people caught this water, they would be doing areas (even those idiots that want to charge you for it) downriver a favor, right?

  36. booman

    So if the state owns all the rain, then they should be on the hook for all damage caused by floods. No one should have to buy insurance to protect themselves against the State’s rain.

  37. Will

    My problem lies in the fact that even if EVERY building in all of Albuquerque collected the rain water from their roofs and saved it, what percentage is that of total rain water that fell from the sky? I’m guessing 5%, MAYBE. It’s probably closer to around 2%, and that’s if EVERY SINGLE MOTHER LOVIN’ BUILDING. collected rainwater. Truth be told, an estimate of 50% of buildings doing this by the year 2020 sounds absurd to me. All the rain that falls on roads, parking lots, lawns, parks, etc… would still be going to the aquifers for the farmers. I doubt that collecting 1-2% of the rainwater that falls from the sky would significantly effect the aquifers of farmers.

  38. Orange Cadaster

    when the world bank privatized water in the cities of el alto and Cochabamba in Bolivia. they made it illegal to gather rain water and then preceded to hike up the water rates until the people had no choice but to riot and protest.

  39. Rene

    Hmm, so that means that if I leave an expensive silk blouse outside and it is rained upon, I can sue the state for damages? You own it, it damaged my property.

  40. A Texan who collects rainwater

    Texas exempts rainwater systems from sales tax and some cities offer rebates on the cost of the system. There’s also a law preventing HOA’s from restricting the systems. A quick search might help you get a system installed, if it’s allowed in your area.

  41. Anonymous

    If the government ownes the water, wouldn’t you be able to sue them for waste disposal on your lawn on a rainy day?

  42. Melanie

    Dumb laws….

    I can understand that the city needs the rain to go into the ground. Obviously if massive amounts of people were collecting rainwater and just leaving it to languish in the barrels or shipping it off to another state, the effect on the city would be a drought. Maybe that’s what the idiots who drafted this law were thinking, but apparently they didn’t think about what the people actually do with the rainwater they collect. The few people I know who collect it use it on their own property, mostly for watering plants. So the water cycle isn’t really interrupted at all. So I don’t see the point of this inane law.

  43. Duh..

    Seems to me the places in the West with water issues stem from the fact that people are trying to farm in areas where they really shouldn’t. Man’s artificial attempt to bring water into the dessert is the cause of the fighting over water.

  44. Ribhu Dey

    One pickle barrel will not make a difference. Four pickle barrels will not make any difference either. But 2 million pickle barrels? Yes it will make a hell of a difference.

    Rain water constitutes a major portion of groundwater that is drawn up from wells and is supplied to populated areas as drinking water and for other water requirements. There are landlocked lakes that get water not from rivers or streams but from rain water seeping into the ground. 2 million water barrels might not be a regular guy’s rain water reserve.
    But consider this, what if a corporation buys a huge (I mean HUGE) tract of land, and installs rain water harvesting systems over the entire land, and uses the water for it own commercial purposes… The ground water table in my opinion will dry off very fast. And then the wells feeding off this underwater table go dry, and following which the population goes dry as well… The huge tract of land might appear ‘stupid’ to some people, it would have to be too large to make substantial damage to the under water table, but what if a number of companies or corporations buy lands, which together amount to be very large?

    The laws might sound very stupid at first glance, and rain water harvesting should be promoted and encouraged even more, but long term effects and all scenarios, good and bad, should be considered before passing laws, and judgements……

  45. Ro Tomas

    So, while driving through one of these ‘we own the rain’ towns listening to the latest hit single, “Who Owns the Rain?”, I am in some manner injured because of the rain, who exactly do I get to sue for rain damages?

  46. alan smithee

    If those cities ant to “own” water falling from the sky that’s great!

    Wait until they get my bill for water collection and distribution services. I also screen my gutters, so I’m probably also going to institute an advanced-technology filtering system fee.

    And there’s also the damage that thousands (millions, billions?) of raindrops causes on my roof (damage deposit), not to mention “their” rain knocks down leaves and branches from MY trees.

    And there’s a cleaning fee (from aforementioned downed leaves and limbs) and let’s not forget the cost of pain and suffering and humiliation when “their” rain gets me wet (WITH NO NOTICE!!!)

    This could be a sweet deal. I can hardly wait for this idea to catch on.

    EASTERN COLORADO: Yes, I’ve lived there (Akron, Greeley, Las Animas) and other parts of the state, so I understand how Byzantine Colo. water laws are. I suggest that you ignore them because no one is stupid enough to go after their water rights from your rain barrels. I suggest that you file a “wind rights” claim as fast as you can, so you can pocket some of that money blowing by on the way to those huge wind mills.

  47. CorruptSoul

    David – What the? are you insane? how can collecting water from rain prevent others from collecting water from rain?
    “OH NOES, THE DEVELOPERS ARE STEALING ALL THE RAINWATER, WHATEVER SHALL WE DO” is a stupid mentality

    Also, if the main concern is that, why not just make it illegal to collect water within 30 meters of those acquieas because as i see it, those laws are actually hurting people and is making extra revenues for the water companies, which probably bribed the local government to have that law so they can have more money. Get over that silly thinking that collecting some water will mean your collecting all of it.

    If that law ever came into play in england, something is indeed very wrong with this world filled with idiots, corrupt politicians and people that abuse the system at the cost of thousands of others.

    Peace
    CorruptSoul

  48. David Bunting

    So if the state claims ownership of the rain, what happens if the rain creates flooding and destroys private property? Does that mean that the owner of the private property can sue the state demanding that their property be repaired / replaced?

    It brings up an interesting issue.

    If they claim ownership dont they have to claim responsibility as well?

  49. Jon

    hmm if the rain belongs to the state could you sue the state for eg getting my washing wet because I left it on the line too long

  50. Jason

    So that makes the state responsible for flood damage since they “own” the rain water? What about solar energy? Do they own the Sun too?

  51. Henry

    I guess someone could argue that collecting the water prevents rivers and lakes from being replenished, possibly causing harm to the environment around them. I could see this happening if people went to the extreme and started hoarding thousands of gallons of water that they really don’t need. However, if someone collects 1,000 gallons a month and uses 1,000 gallons a month, that is 1,000 fewer gallons that has to be pumped out of the ground or collected from a river, sanitized, and piped to their house. It’s all going to end up down the drain anyway.

  52. Ralph

    In central Florida we pay the city for storm water runoff at a cost of $5.00 per month, so we pay the city for the rain that falls on our property. At least there’s no one telling us what we can do with the water.

  53. GregA

    So really, when it floods in those areas where the rainwater is owned by someone the rainwater owners are liable for damages…

  54. Michael Glatz

    The world never ceases to amaze me. I suppose that along this line of logic, we will all be paying for the sun rays that actually strike our solar panels, as the government will likely be the owner of the rays. People seem to forget that governments are designed to serve the people and not the other way around.

  55. cchiovitti

    Best of luck to the New Mexican farmers. So many of our rights were sold off long ago to bigger cities far downstream. The rest were snapped up as investments or buy speculators.

  56. David

    New Mexico has the same, and it is not quite so simple. These laws are in effect to stop developers and builders from diverting the water to their developments from the farmers, who have depended on their acquiea to water their crops. So if the water falls from the sky, goes into the acquieas to be delivered to the farmers, but the water is “stolen” before it gets there, guess what? No food, no crops, no water for the animals. It may seem archaic, but it is not moronic or without reason. And while you might think it is stupid, the people who depend on that water to be delivered to their farms (naturally, not be city water like bigger towns) do not think it is stupid. If you are using the rain to water your garden, that is one thing. But diverting it to bathe in or wash your car is another…

  57. cchiovitti

    Well, it’s a mess in Colorado because *most* of our farmers do not own thier water rights either. So many older farms sold off their original rights to the developers, so now they have to pay for how ever much they are “allowed” and when the aquifers start going down, the farms’ supplies are cut off. If all of the water was going to grow my food, I wouldn’t complain, but it really does irk me that something as basic as rainwater has been turned in to a commodity to make large companies more money.

  58. cchiovitti

    I live in Eastern Colorado and it is also against the law for us to collect rainwater. The water-rights laws are very intricate and strict here. Technically, any rain that falls on our property belongs to the owners of the rights to the water which would naturally flow away from us. It’s a mess. Truly.

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