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Collecting rainwater now illegal in many states...

T. Joy


Joined: Feb 03, 2011
Posts: 438
Is this for real? How can this be for real?

http://www.naturalnews.com/029286_rainwater_collection_water.html
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame


Joined: May 23, 2010
Posts: 488
Location: Foothills north of L.A., zone 9ish mediterranean
    
    3
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


Joined: Feb 03, 2011
Posts: 438
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
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
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/


Idle dreamer

                              


Joined: Jan 26, 2011
Posts: 47
Location: Colorado, Zone 5, Cold Semi-arid
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


Joined: Feb 03, 2011
Posts: 438
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


Joined: Dec 14, 2010
Posts: 312
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.


.
                        


Joined: May 26, 2010
Posts: 278
Location: Iowa, border of regions 5 and 6
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
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6523
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
133
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


Joined: Aug 21, 2010
Posts: 50
Location: California
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. 
                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
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
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
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
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
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


Joined: Dec 14, 2010
Posts: 312
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
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Don't give up! 
Al Loria


Joined: Apr 21, 2010
Posts: 395
Location: New York
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


Joined: Mar 15, 2011
Posts: 528
Location: Athens, GA/Sunset, SC
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.

Seed Swap via Letter | Livingwind.tumblr.com | sustainable seed co
Emerson White


Joined: May 02, 2010
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
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)
                                              


Joined: Mar 30, 2011
Posts: 500
  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
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
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


Joined: May 02, 2010
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
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.
                        


Joined: Mar 25, 2011
Posts: 107
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.
                        


Joined: Oct 21, 2010
Posts: 32
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


Joined: Feb 16, 2010
Posts: 461
Location: Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada
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.


It can be done!
Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 3888
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  56
    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.


QUOTES FROM MEMBERS --- In my veterinary opinion, pets should be fed the diet they are biologically designed to eat. Su Ba...The "redistribution" aspect is an "Urban Myth" as far as I know. I have only heard it uttered by those who do not have a food forest, and are unlikely to create one. John Polk ...Even as we sit here, wondering what to do, soil fungi are degrading the chemicals that were applied. John Elliott ... O.K., I originally came to Permies to talk about Rocket Mass Heaters RMHs, and now I have less and less time in my life, and more and more Good People to Help ! Al Lumley...I think with the right use of permie principles, most of Wyoming could be turned into a paradise. Miles Flansburg... Then you must do the pig's work. Sepp Holzer
                              


Joined: Jan 26, 2011
Posts: 47
Location: Colorado, Zone 5, Cold Semi-arid
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.
                                          


Joined: Jan 09, 2011
Posts: 59
Location: N.W. Arizona
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
                            


Joined: Aug 25, 2011
Posts: 18
Pretty soon they'll ticket folks with pools and stock tanks for violating!
Bill Kearns


Joined: Feb 13, 2009
Posts: 154
Location: E Washington steppe
    
    2
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


Permaculture is a gestalt ... a study of the whole. Not just how to produce more and better food, but how human life on the planet affects and is affected by the surrounding environment.
Bill Kearns http://columbiabasinpermaculture.com
Fred Winsol


Joined: May 22, 2011
Posts: 155
Location: Sierras
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?


Life is too important to take seriously.
                            


Joined: Jul 16, 2011
Posts: 13
Location: Lake Forest Park, WA
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


Joined: Nov 27, 2011
Posts: 9
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


Joined: Jan 05, 2010
Posts: 21
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


Joined: Jan 10, 2012
Posts: 69
Location: Valley of the Sun
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?



I AM a Warrior in whom
the ways of the Olde
enhance the ways of the New
Faith Smith


Joined: Dec 27, 2011
Posts: 10
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


Joined: Oct 12, 2011
Posts: 26
Location: Vashon, WA
It is legal to harvest rainwater in Washington state. It has been since 2008.
Zachary Crawford


Joined: Feb 10, 2012
Posts: 9
http://www.harvesth2o.com/statues_regulations.shtml#ga

check to see the laws where you live
Andrew Parker


Joined: Feb 13, 2012
Posts: 347
Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
    
    4
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


Joined: Jun 08, 2011
Posts: 22
Monsanto's CEO's are all overgrown children that never learned how to share anything.
nancy sutton
volunteer

Joined: Feb 22, 2010
Posts: 303
Location: Federal Way, WA - Western Washington (Zone 8 - temperate maritime)
    
    9
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.)


It's time to get positive about negative thinking    -Art Donnelly
 
 
subject: Collecting rainwater now illegal in many states...
 
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