Rainwater collection is now legal throughout the United States. Colorado Governor, John Hickenlooper, recently signed a new law allowing Colorado residents to have two rain barrels on their property, holding up to 110 gallons. It would seem intuitive to many people that rain that falls on your property should be your water to use, should you choose to collect it. However, it had been technically illegal in Colorado for many years based on archaic water laws. The gist of the existing law was that collecting rainwater on your property prevented said water from reaching farmers and other water rights holders. And in a state like Colorado, where drought is common, a farmers' concern is understandable. However, there are many reasons why allowing rain barrels may be beneficial for both residents and farmers.
Owning a rain barrel fosters a sense of water conservation. When irrigating a garden with a rain barrel, one becomes acutely aware of the amount of water being used and considers efficient ways to water such as drip line or soaker hose kits. When one irrigates from their house spigot, the amount of water being used is harder to quantify, and one is likely to over-water.
This mindset of conservation is what Colorado lawmakers are hoping to to cultivate by passing the new law allowing rain barrels. It is best for the entire community, both residents and farmers, when the general public is cognizant of their personal water-usage and takes steps to efficiently use their water.
Rainwater collection has already become popular in many other states, and is even encouraged by local governments. Colorado may be a little late to the game, but we're glad they're finally here.