Target: Colorado state Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling
Goal: Let the people of Colorado collect rainwater for conservation purposes.
A bill to legalize the use of rain barrels was making its way through the Colorado legislature, but has unfortunately stalled in the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Energy Committee. After passing through the Colorado House of Representatives by an incredible 61-3 vote, the committee’s chairman, state Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, postponed a vote on the bill due to what he considers to be a large amount of “misinformation” in the bill’s text.
Sonnenberg has done this before.
Colorado state Sen. Michael Merrifield, D-Colorado Springs, who is a sponsor of the bill to approve urban rainwater collection, referenced the movie Groundhog Day when speaking about Sen. Sonnenberg’s decision to postpone a vote on the rainwater collection bill. During the 2015 legislative session, Sen. Sonnenberg delayed a vote on a rainwater collection bill in committee for nearly a month. The committee voted on it with only a few days remaining in the legislative session, which made it impossible for the bill to pass.
Advocates for rainwater collection say that rain barrels are a good tool for water conservation. Perhaps more importantly, rain barrels also encourage citizens to think about their water use and make conservation-minded decisions, which is the key to real, lasting change in a part of the country where water is becoming increasingly hard to come by.
Anti-water conservation lawmakers like Sen. Sonnenberg are working to destroy these conservation efforts by reinforcing antiquated water laws in the American West and appealing to agriculture and water lobbies who strictly follow those antiquated water laws. They are working to preserve a “prior appropriation system” where people with “senior” water rights get access before those with “junior” water rights — basically, “first come, first serve.”
Everyone needs water and water belongs to everyone. Lawmakers like Sen. Sonnenberg need to understand that.
Dear Sen. Sonnenberg,
For the second consecutive year, you have stalled a rainwater collection bill that would provide water to the people of Colorado. The efforts of rainwater collection are good for water conservation efforts. They help people make responsible, conservation-minded decisions when it comes to their water use, which ultimately helps everyone.
We urge you to bring the rainwater collection bill up for a vote immediately and do your part in helping it pass through the Colorado legislature. If you believe in making sure the people of Colorado have access to the water they need, if you wish to be part of real, lasting change that benefits all Coloradans, then this bill will not die in committee.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Edal Anton Lefterov