colo rain harvesting permit denied

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Tango3, May 10, 2009.

  1. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer

    Acolorado homeowner was denied the right to collect a few barrels of rain water from her roof (underpenalty of fines)
    All she wants is the rain water that lands on her roof. She lives with her husband and two children in a solar-powered home in rural San Miguel County. Committed to promoting sustainability, Kris Holstrom grows organic produce year-round, most of which is sold to local restaurants and farmers markets. On a mesa at 9,000 feet elevation, however, water other than precipitation is hard to come by.
    So Kris did what thousands of farmers before her have done: She applied for a water right. Except instead of seeking to divert water from a stream, she sought to collect rain that fell upon the roof of her house and greenhouse. To her surprise, the state engineer opposed her application, arguing that other water users already had locked up the right to use the rain. The Colorado Water Court agreed, and Kris was denied the right to store a few barrels of rainwater. If she persisted with rain harvesting, she would be subject to fines of up to $500 per day.
    How could this happen?
    Like other western states, Colorado water law follows the prior appropriation doctrine, of which the core principle is “first in time, first in right.” The first person to put water to beneficial use and comply with other legal requirements obtains a water right superior to all later claims to that water.
    The right to appropriate enshrined in Colorado’s Constitution has been so scrupulously honored that nearly all of the rivers and streams in Colorado are overappropriated, which means there is often not enough water to satisfy all the claims to it. When this happens, senior water-right holders can “call the river” and cut off the flow to those who filed for water rights later, so-called “juniors.”
  2. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Do the Holstrom's actually OWN the property? More than likely, it is owned by China and subsidized by the State.
  3. whichfinger

    whichfinger Monkey++

    Water rights in the western states are right there next to God, Motherhood, and Apple Pie. Don't mess with any of 'em. These are states that get far less rain than those East of the Mississippi, and water rights are a serious issue dating back 150 or so years. There's an old western idiom, which I can't remember right now so I'm paraphrasing, you can steal my horse, bed my wife, but mess with my water and I'll kill ya. Something like that. It has absolutely nothing to do with current national politics and everything to do with settling water wars between ranchers and farmers that took place a long time ago.

    The result is, basically, that those with legally recorded water rights have, well, rights to all the water. That includes all precipitation that falls within a given watershed, whether it be on your roof, your lawn, or your head. Whatever soaks naturally into your lawn or garden is yours, but any excess (runoff) belongs to someone downstream. IANAL, but I think that gives a fair idea of what goes on. I cannot legally catch water in a barrel from my downspout. OTOH, you've all heard the Shoot, Shovel, and Shut up rule, and I think we're all imaginative enough to see a corollary here. :D

    /It's the law, folks
    //Been that way for over a century
  4. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Retired Curmudgeonly IT Monkey Founding Member

    Yep, there are 'stealthy' ways around this idiocy. :oops:
  5. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    It looks to me, like a simple solution would be to fill the barrels with her garden hose and just let the rain replenish her supply as needed and allow the excess to continue to run-off to where-ever it is supposed to go; sort of like a solar recharger?
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