Colorado is the only place in the country where it’s illegal to collect rainwater. You can direct it by changing your gutters or grading but you can’t collect it. The law dates back more than a century, but Rep. Jessie Danielson is hoping to change it.

“If I can shovel snow off from my sidewalk and put it on my lawn, why can’t I use a rain barrel to take it from my sidewalk to put on my tomato plants?” said Danielson, D-Jefferson County.

She says homeowners ought to be able to collect rainwater and use it where they need it most, as long as they put it back into the ground. Her bill would allow Coloradans to collect up to 110 gallons of water at a time. Danielson points to modeling by Colorado State University finding little effect on downstream users.

“I grew up on a farm in northern Colorado, an irrigated farm, and I can tell you as farmer’s daughter, it just makes good Colorado common sense,” she said.

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