Target: Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado
Goal: Commend the governor for legalizing the use of rain barrels for water conservation efforts.
Coloradans are elated following the legalization of private-use rain barrels as a means of water conservation. The bill raced through the state legislature and onto Governor John Hickenlooper’s desk, where it was signed thanks in part to the diligent advocacy of the ForceChange community. Pete Maysmith, executive director of the nonprofit group Conservation Colorado, called the bill-signing “a victory for Coloradans who care about their state’s incredible rivers, lakes, streams, and waters.” He continued by noting that “rain barrels are an important educational tool and a great first step toward conservation and increasing awareness about the water challenges facing Colorado.”
For a time, it appeared the bill would have died in committee like a similar bill did before. One of its staunchest opponents was state Senator Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling), who also happens to be the chair of the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Energy Committee. His opposition to the rain barrel bill was rooted in strict interpretation of water laws dating back to when the Western United States was still relatively untamed, namely the system of prior appropriation. He argued that usage of rain barrels would defy “senior” water rights, especially when it comes to Big Agriculture.
State Senator Sonnenberg’s arguments were thoroughly discredited by a study conducted at Colorado State University. The study found that the use of rain barrels would not decrease the amount of surface runoff that would run to downstream users. Sonnenberg’s argument that the use of rain barrels would have that effect was a large portion of his argument against the bill.
With a law legalizing private rainwater collection in place, Coloradans can now recycle water, which will be very beneficial to a state that has been suffering from steady drought. Rain barrels help people have a better awareness of the water cycle and will improve water conservation ethic. Sign the petition applauding Governor Hickenlooper for legalizing rain barrels in the state of Colorado. Let’s also recognize the hard work of countless organizations, including ForceChange, that went into making this change happen.
Dear Governor Hickenlooper,
Rainwater collection is one of the most effective ways to help the environment and combat drought. The passage of a bill legalizing rain barrels will help the public develop an appreciation for the water cycle and strengthen water conservation ethic.
It is with this in mind that we say thank you for signing the bill into law. Your signature will have a profound impact on water conservation in Colorado.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Edal Anton Lefterov