A bill that would allow residential rainwater collection sailed through a committee hearing Monday, making headway in Colorado’s decades-old water rights battle. House Bill 1259 passed the Agriculture, Livestock & Natural Resources Committee 8-5 and now advances to the full House.”We’re simply wanting to allow people to collect the rain that falls off of their rooftops … to put back into the earth,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo.The proposal would limit total barrel size to 100 gallons per residence. Proponents say that the average homeowner could collect about 600 gallons of water annually to water their lawns or gardens. That amount of water could sustain a vegetable garden or a flower bed, according to Drew Beckwith, water policy manager for Western Resource Advocates, who testified for the legislation.”One of the most important things this bill accomplishes is putting urban and suburban water users in the mind frame of conservation,” said co-sponsor Rep. Jessie Danielson, D-Wheat Ridge.Esgar said people already use rain barrels and were shocked to find out it’s illegal. Beckwith said Colorado is the only state to prohibit residential collection of rain. Colorado’s water rights system — known as “first in time, first in right” — emerged during the mining booms of the 19th century. Using that rhetoric, people argue that collecting rainwater prevents it from reaching rivers, violating the rights of downstream users. “It’s a violation of the doctrine of prior appropriations,” said Pat Ratliff of the South Metro Water Authority. “It’s not their water (to use). It’s a return flow that somebody downstream has a senior right to.” – Click Here To Visit Article Source