June 29, 2009

Rainwater collecting a go in Colorado

Residents of Colorado who have private wells can begin collecting rainwater amid the state's ongoing water supply problems, state lawmakers say.

Colorado lawmakers recently passed two laws that allow certain state residents to collect precipitation from the sky, while also paving the way for a new rain-catching program, The New York Times said Monday.

The laws come about as some U.S. states like Colorado are struggling to maintain sufficient water supplies amid drought or declining groundwater supplies.

The new laws implement fines for Colorado residents collecting rain water without a permit.

Previously, the state outlawed the practice of collecting rain water despite the fact the equipment could be purchased at retail outlets statewide.

It's like being able to sell things like smoking paraphernalia even though smoking pot is illegal, said Laurie E. Dicks, a former store owner in Durango, Colo.

The Times said the state push for the new legislation was supported by a 2007 study that found that 97 percent of the average annual rainfall in Douglas County, Colo., was used by plant life or simply evaporated instead of being added to area streams.