Hot and dry summers in Western Colorado may have you thinking about new ways to keep your lawn and garden watered. One solution that works for some residents is to collect rainwater in a barrel for later use. Rainwater collection is legal in some places in Colorado under certain conditions.

The Colorado Division of Water Resources offers an easy-to-follow guide about collecting rainwater. Keep scrolling to find out if this is an option for you and your family and how much water you can store according to where you live.

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Who Is Allowed to Collect Rainwater in Colorado?

According to Colorado statutes Section 37-96.5-103, C.R.S., any single-family home or multi-family residence with four or fewer units can collect rainwater from the roof into a barrel with a lid that seals.

You do not need a permit from the Colorado Division of Water Resources to do this.

How Much Water Am I Allowed to Collect?

Residents can collect rainwater in a barrel or barrels with a combined capacity of 110 gallons. According to House Bill 16-1005, these barrels can be refilled throughout the year.  Water in rain barrels is meant for outdoor use only. Use it for gardening, washing your car, watering your lawn, or refilling your hot tub. Water collected and stored in rain barrels should not be used for drinking.

Using Rain Barrels Legally in Colorado

Something as simple as collecting rainwater is made far more complicated than it should be by various laws over the years. Colorado water rights only allow for the collection of water in barrels when the water rights of a basin are satisfied. Several restrictions must be followed for the rain to be collected legally.

Tap this link to visit the water collection fact sheet from Colorado State University. This sheet spells out the conditions for using rain barrels under House Bill 16-1005, HB09-1129, and Senate Bill 09-080.

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