Colorado Legalizes Residential Rainwater Collection

barrel-837976_640Until May 12, 2016, it was illegal for a Colorado resident to capture rainwater from his or her roof for any reason, not even to water plants or a garden.

A step in the right direction, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed House Bill 1005 into law that allows for the limited harvesting of rainwater. The law takes effect on August 20, 2016. The issue of water collection has been a hot topic for years; other attempts to make residential rainwater collection legal have failed in the state legislature. Why? Businesses in the agriculture industry and other water rights holders feared that there wouldn’t be enough runoff for their use.

Why now? According to Pueblo Rep. Daneya Esgar, in a quote from a story from CBS Denver, “We just want to make sure we’re not the only state in the union where this is illegal. I think that’s why it gained so much national attention, even international attention”.

Now, residents can collect rainwater – but with limits. The law allows for harvesting of up to 110 gallons and the collected water must be returned to the homeowner’s property – perhaps to water a garden or wash a car. However, the only way the law could be passed without pushback from the agriculture industry, was to include a provision that if farmers and ranchers can prove that as a result of the new law, there is not enough water for their use, the number of barrels allowed could be reduced.

There are different restrictions, depending on the type of residence you have. Colorado State University has written guidelines on how and how much rainwater you can collect if you are a Colorado resident and Colorado State University Extension has developed a fact sheet with additional details on rainwater harvesting.

How do RainBank’s readers feel about this law? We value your feedback. Leave a comment with your thoughts about the new Colorado law allowing limited residential rainwater collection.

Commercial Rainwater Harvesting: Niche to Mainstream

62907kirkland0503_PubSafetyBldgIt’s hard to believe that it’s been two years since we completed the project outlined below. We are thrilled to say that interest in rainwater collection has skyrocketed, bringing it from niche to mainstream. Here’s a throwback Thursday post outlining what happened in May, 2014:

RainBank Rainwater Collection Systems is pleased to announce completion of two 5,300-gallon rainwater collection tanks for the new Kirkland Public Safety Building. Both tanks will collect water from a segment of the building’s roof and divert to irrigation for new plantings. The Safety building was a former Costco building remodeled for the city of Kirkland to be used as the new courthouse, police station and jail.

New landscaping will be watered automatically by the rain tanks via a computerized controller which will regulate how long and what times watering will take place. With 10,600 gallons of storage and a roof collection area of approximately 20,000 sq. ft., even a small amount of rain in the summer should supply the new plantings with rainwater.

Kirkland Public SafetyInfiltration of the soil during watering will reduce the building’s stormwater runoff and save money by not using city water.

RainBank Rainwater Collection Systems is proud to be part of this and other commercial projects making the Seattle area a better place to live.

RainBank Systems are built with the highest quality components and installed by our trained staff. Don’t forget to ask us about our steel water tanks – and the industry unmatched 20-year warranty.

We will continue to highlight and share our projects and information with you. We look forward to installing your system in the near future.

This article was originally published under the title Rainwater Harvesting Cuts Costs & Reduces Stormwater Runoff at

Is Rainwater Clean and Safe to Drink?

clear-water-glass_smRainwater is generally considered clean to begin with, however, water is an excellent medium for growth and transport of disease causing organisms.

The good news is rainwater is relatively easy to filter and disinfect, and disinfected rainwater may significantly improve drinking water supplies.

The clean water act of 1974 and recent amendments have enhanced the protection of drinking water. But, news bulletins throughout the United States of contaminated municipal supplies have spawned an increased interest in rainwater harvesting as a source of drinking water. People are looking toward alternatives to an aging, overwhelmed infrastructure to provide a safe, clean source of drinking water for the household and family.

Water quality problems associated with rainwater harvesting systems most often originate in the catchment area, conveyance system, or storage components caused by:

  • System was poorly maintained
  • Collected water was not properly disinfected
  • Conveyance and storage were poorly designed
  • Simple measures were not taken to ensure the quality of the water

All harvested rainwater that is intended for potable use must be treated effectively to minimize the risk of harming human health. To ensure a RWH system is producing high quality water, proper techniques in design, construction and maintenance along with testing need to be conducted.

Recent plumbing codes set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE) along with the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA) have been adopted at the national level and must be adhered to by designers and contractors installing rainwater collection systems meant for potable and non potable use. 

Rainwater harvesting can be a safe, reliable source of drinking water if codes and practices are conducted. Ask if your designer and installer are ARCSA Accredited Professionals and are up to date on the latest plumbing codes.