Don’t take water for granted

Did you know that a new law went into effect Wednesday in Colorado that makes it legal for residents of that state to collect rain water in barrels?

No kidding.

Prior to Wednesday, it apparently was illegal (some would argue otherwise) to collect rain water in barrels for your lawn, garden or whatever because it lessened the amount of rainwater available for downstream users.

No one was ever cited to be in violation of the former supposed law, but Colorado – with so many days of sunshine and general lack of adequate rain per year – takes its water and water rights seriously.

Conservationists contend that every drop that is reused out of a rain barrel is a drop that doesn’t come out of a reservoir or river that fulfills farms’ and cities’ decreed water rights.

Under Colorado law, the oldest water rights are fulfilled first before those with younger water rights get any.

In dry years, some farmers might not get any water, other than the rain that falls on their crops, the Denver Post reported last week.

Under the new law, Coloradans can store up to a total of 110 gallons of rainwater to use on their lawns and gardens in one or two rain barrels.

How they came up with that limit … well, we don’t really know and cannot find a reasonable explanation.

And unless you have your head in the sand, water use restrictions in California have been in play for years as that state experiences continued severe drought to the extent that its underground aquifers are drying up.

Back here in Pennsylvania, a number of counties – Clinton, Centre and Lycoming among them – are currently under a drought watch.

Continued dryness here could soon move that to a drought warning and water use restrictions.

If anything, Pennsylvanians need to employ more rain barrels and practice more water conservation.

We pretty much take water for granted here, don’t we?