General Assembly Passes Bill Approving Use of Rain Barrels

April 25, 2016   |   Water Law

The Colorado General Assembly has passed a bill (click here to access the bill) that permits the use of rain barrels that collect rain from residential rooftops.  The bill passed the House in March and Senate in April, and it is now awaiting the Governor’s signature, which should come shortly.

The bill imposes various restrictions on the use of rain barrels, including:

  • Rain barrels must be located above ground and they must collect precipitation from a downspout of a rooftop.
  • Rain barrels may only be used at single family residence, which include detached residences and a residence that is part of a row of residences joined by common sidewalls, and multi-family residences with four or fewer units.
  • No more than two rain barrels with a combined storage capacity of 110 gallons may be used at any residence.
  • The collected precipitation may only be used for outdoor purposes including irrigation of lawns and gardens, and it cannot be used for drinking water or any indoor household purpose.
  • The collected precipitation may only be used on the residential property where the precipitation is collected.

The bill also provides that homeowners associations may not prohibit the use of rain barrels consistent with the new law.

The bill expressly gives the State Engineer the authority to curtail rain barrel usage if use of a rain barrel is or will cause material injury to a senior water right holder.