Regulating Rainfall

Apparently it’s illegal to collect rain water in some western states without difficult to obtain water rights for doing so.  There’s a saying from the west that I believe goes something like “Out west, whiskey is for drinkin’ and water is for fightin’.”  Things like that don’t really change, though presumably we fight using lawyers these days rather than guns.

8 thoughts on “Regulating Rainfall”

  1. When I hear about these sort of things I want to set up a dehumidifier that has it’s air intake close to the nearest body of forbidden water, then sell lemonade to the frustrated lawyers from the filtered and chilled output of the dehumidifier.

  2. The other Western saying is “water runs uphill to money” so it is just a question of finding the right price.

  3. My guess is those laws are very rarely enforced. The amount of water gathered from a single rooftop simply wouldn’t make that big of a difference even in Nevada, the driest state in the Union.

    They might start enforcing it if everyone decides to use that method, though, because the cumulative effect at that point could cause issues.

  4. It’s the same reason that here, it’s illegal to dump your sump output into the sewer system. One person doing it isn’t going to make enough of a difference. A whole neighborhood doing it, and you can create a real problem.

    Here, sump attachments are enforced. In fact, I got a letter from the sewer authority claiming I needed to call to make an appointment to have them come inspect my hookup because they had noticed too much output coming from my neighborhood during storms.

    I ignored the letter because I was indignant that they thought they could search my house for evidence of a criminal act without a warrant. Of course, they don’t need a warrant to shut my water off, but it never came to that.

  5. I am damn near certain that the government does not own the rain falling from the sky. I hope someone’s kids are not outside playing in the rain and grabs a bucket…..that little tyke is going to the slammer!

    It is stuff like this that really gets me going…..illegal to collect rain water….give me a break.

  6. ‘”They felt that the water belonged to someone else once it hit my roof” she said.”They claimed that the water was tributary to the San Miguel River”— which runs some three miles from her place and is fully allocated to others downstream…’

    From each according to his ability, to each according to his need ? (and who determines ability and need, I humbly ask?)


  7. I live in SE Colorado , and out here water or the lack of it is life and livelihood . I remember a case 10 years or so ago ( i did not work it ) Whereby a farmer in Bent County was found drowned in an irrigation ditch , washed to the canvass dam about 1/4 mile from his pickup , with a flat spot on the back of his head . Now granted this fine fella was suspected to deal ( and raise ) a bit of dope from time to time , but also he had a bad habit of ” poaching water ” as it came down the canal . The case was officially ruled as an accidental death ( hey it could have happened that way lol ) but i have both as an LE at the time , and as a farmer/rancher suspected he got too close to a neighbors irrigation shovel , and the neighbor ment to hand out a butt whippin not a homicide . There were tracks that showed another vehicle at the scene but the tire impressions were never traced to any specific car , and pull up and visit is a common thing among us rural types . I list this to show that out here water can still be so sensitive as to possibly incite homicide . Now no one is going to charge anyone with collecting rainwater off roofs , but by the same token the state will not issue a permit or water rights for such activity , especially if the landowner has either ” sold the water rights ” or bought a piece of property without water rights . For the water rich folk who own property just think of water rights as mineral rights and things will come into focus . In the last 20 or so years the state of KS has largely won against CO ( and the corp of engineers ) in federal court defining just what we can and cannot do with water , be it from the sky , from the ground , or running in a stream . I suspect with CA downstream UT and NV face even more issues than us .

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