rain barrel bill

A law that passed last year in Colorado allows residents to capture and use rainwater for outdoor irrigation. As Roaring Fork Valley homeowners rely on weather patterns and natural cycles for their water supply, it's teaching them how to manage a scarce resource.

Rain Barrels Legal

Aug 11, 2016

 Rain barrels will be legal in Colorado starting Wednesday. State lawmakers passed a bill last legislative session to let people capture rain that falls from their roofs. 

It will soon be legal for Coloradans to collect rain that falls from their roofs.

Rain barrel legislation cleared the state Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee with the help of two Republicans joining Democrats to vote for it. If law passes, it could affect gardening practices on a local level.

Update 5.13.2016: Gov. John Hickenlooper has signed legislation finally legalizing rain barrels. Our original story continues below.

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A bill that would allow people to collect rain that falls from their rooftops is hung up in the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, after the chair said he wasn't comfortable with the measure. It's not clear when the committee will vote on it.

The same thing happened during the 2015 legislative session when the rain barrel bill vote was delayed. While the bill eventually cleared the committee over the objections of the Republican chair, it failed on the final day of the session when time ran out.

"I didn't plan on today being Groundhog Day, I anticipated that the bill would pass," said state Sen. Michael Merrifield (D-Colorado Springs), sponsor of House Bill 16-1005 [.pdf].

Colorado is on the road to becoming the final state in the country to legalize rain barrels, after Democrats reached an agreement with several Republicans who opposed previous versions of the measure.

"It is a water right and what you have done with this, you have protected that water right," said Rep. Don Coram (R-Montrose), who had voted against a rain barrel bill last session.

Now he said he can back it – and other Republicans are also on board with HB 16-1005 [.pdf].