April 17, 2015--Senate panel delays vote on rain-barrel bill (Grand Junction Sentinel)

Homeowners who use rain barrels are violating state water laws, but a bill discussed in a Senate panel on Thursday would make it OK. Under HB1259, which cleared the Colorado House last month on a 45-20 vote, homeowners would be able to use two 55-gallon barrels to collect rainwater, but only for use on their gardens and lawn. The thinking behind the measure is two-fold, said Sen. Michael Merrifield, D-Manitou Springs, its Senate sponsor. One, it allows for a way of delaying water from flowing downstream too soon and acts as a kind of reservoir system. Two, it helps Coloradans realize just how precious water is in the state, and helps teach them to be more judicious in how they use it. Opponents, however, said the idea violates long-standing Colorado water law because it goes against its prior-appropriations standards of first-in-time, first-in-line water rights. Opponents also said Colorado likely would be sued by neighboring states, all of which allow rainwater barrels. Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources & Energy Committee that reviewed the bill, delayed a vote on it over a disagreement on some of its provisions. To view the full article visit the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.