"People are shocked that some developer or water provider owns the water that falls out of the sky," said Rep. Marsha Looper, a Republican from rural Calhan, southeast of Denver, who sponsored the legislation.
The New York Times carries an arresting article this week, "Its Now Legal To Catch A Raindrop In Colorado", reminding us rain-drenched city-dwellers on Canada's wet coast that it's a big world out there, and that our little corner of it is only a tiny drop in the ocean. The article also signals how laws based on science need constant updating if they are to remain soaked in justice:
A study in 2007 proved crucial to convincing Colorado lawmakers that rain catching would not rob water owners of their rights. It found that in an average year, 97 percent of the precipitation that fell in Douglas County, near Denver, never got anywhere near a stream. The water evaporated or was used by plants.
But the deeper questions about rain are what really gnawed at rain harvesters like Todd S. Anderson, a small-scale farmer just east of Durango. Mr. Anderson said catching rain was not just thrifty — he is so water conscious that he has not washed his truck in five years — but also morally correct because it used water that would otherwise be pumped from the ground.
Mr. Anderson, a former national park ranger who worked for years enforcing rules and laws, said:
“I’m conflicted between what’s right and what’s legal. And I hate that.”