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Thread: What the heck? Illegal to collect rainwater?

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    Alien1099's Avatar
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    What the heck? Illegal to collect rainwater?



    I don't do it myself as it is rather impractical in my location, but I know many here do:

    Apparently it's illegal in Washington too?

    http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=148&sid=4001252

    Catching rain water is against the law
    August 12th, 2008 @ 11:49pm
    By John Hollenhorst

    Who owns the rain? Not you, it turns out. You're actually breaking the law if you capture the rain falling on your roof and pour it on your flower bed! A prominent Utah car dealer found that out when he tried to do something good for the environment.

    Rebecca Nelson captures rainwater in a barrel, and she pours it on her plants. "We can fill up a barrel in one rainstorm. And so it seems a waste to just let it fall into the gravel," she said.

    Car dealer Mark Miller wanted to do pretty much the same thing on a bigger scale. He collects rainwater on the roof of his new building, stores it in a cistern and hopes to clean cars with it in a new, water-efficient car wash. But without a valid water right, state officials say he can't legally divert rainwater. "I was surprised. We thought it was our water," Miller said.

    State officials say it's an old legal concept to protect people who do have water rights. Boyd Clayton, the deputy state engineer, said, "Obviously if you use the water upstream, it won't be there for the person to use it downstream."

    "Utah's the second driest state in the nation. Our water laws ought to catch up with that," Miller says.

    So what about the little guy, watering with rainwater at home? Will anybody do anything about that violation of the law? Clayton said, "If she really does that, then she ought to have a water right to do it." He added that they would likely make an issue out of it, though, because they have "bigger fish to fry."

    After months of discussion, city and state officials worked out a tentative compromise with the bigger fish, Mark Miller Toyota. Jeff Niermeyer, the Salt Lake City director of public utilities, said, "He would basically be using a Salt Lake City water right and diverting it under our name."

    State officials say the Mark Miller agreement could become a blueprint for other rainwater projects. Homeowner projects, although technically illegal, are likely to stay off the state radar screen.

    E-mail: hollenhorst@ksl.com

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    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    That's absurd! I collect rainwater... and creekwater all the time. But then again, I'm in New York. So who does own the water?

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    mark.ca's Avatar
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    .....i just find out why is not raining in SoCal.....it's against the law!!!!
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    Marius

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    rattler's Avatar
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    as far as i know in Montana until the water actually enters the water table there is no water right against it........course Montana is pretty good about keeping idiotic laws off the books or at the very least realizes it has bigger issues and dont enforce the stupid stuff
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    SirKristoff's Avatar
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    wow so ive pretty much been breaking the law o_O xDDDD funny as hell. ill keep collecting rain water. idc. sooooo. meh

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    Admin- I'm growing CPs in the Desert of Tucson, Az. adnedarn's Avatar
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    Boyd Clayton, the deputy state engineer, said, "Obviously if you use the water upstream, it won't be there for the person to use it downstream."

    So then no one can use it. Cause there will always be someone "downstream" from you... That's what water does, constantly gets reused.
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    swords's Avatar
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    Wow, all the greenhouses here would be breaking the law as they all use cisterns. Don't know if MN has silly laws like that or not since we've got "10.000 lakes". Although you are not recommended to eat fish out of them more than once a week due to mercury poisoning thanks to 3M and Minnesotas wussy stance towards polluters.

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    herenorthere's Avatar
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    That's western water law in a pretty pure form. Montana's law isn't as rational as Rattler thinks, it's just that the state hasn't had as many conflicts as the more populated or more water-stressed states. Yet. But it has sued Wyoming over how much water is arriving in the Yellowstone and it can count on eventually being sued by its downstream states. I've read MT has more water rights claims than actual water. That isn't unusual in the west, but it only becomes a problem when everyone tries to use all their water. Especially when they're consumptive uses.
    Bruce in CT

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