Catching rain water is against the law
August 12th, 2008 @ 11:49pm
By John Hollenhorst
Who owns the rain? Not you, it turns out. You're actually breaking the law if you capture the rain falling on your roof and pour it on your flower bed! A prominent Utah car dealer found that out when he tried to do something good for the environment.
Rebecca Nelson captures rainwater in a barrel, and she pours it on her plants. "We can fill up a barrel in one rainstorm. And so it seems a waste to just let it fall into the gravel," she said.
Car dealer Mark Miller wanted to do pretty much the same thing on a bigger scale. He collects rainwater on the roof of his new building, stores it in a cistern and hopes to clean cars with it in a new, water-efficient car wash. But without a valid water right, state officials say he can't legally divert rainwater. "I was surprised. We thought it was our water," Miller said.
State officials say it's an old legal concept to protect people who do have water rights. Boyd Clayton, the deputy state engineer, said, "Obviously if you use the water upstream, it won't be there for the person to use it downstream."
"Utah's the second driest state in the nation. Our water laws ought to catch up with that," Miller says.
Read the rest of the story HERE.