An Important Aspect of Water Conservation
Conservation is one of the most important actions the well owner can do to preserve the life of a well. To prolong your well’s life, you can augment your water supply with rainwater, which is a type of conservation.
On July 1, 2009, Colorado passed Senate Bill 09-080 allowing a qualified well user to collect rainwater. A qualified well user is someone who meets the following criteria:
- Property owner who has legal entitlement to a well,
- Collection of rainwater is only on residential property,
- Water is not available from a water district or a municipality,
- Rainwater collection is only from a rooftop, and
- Collected rainwater is only for uses allowed by the property owner’s well permit.
For qualified rural property owners with a well, the permit is free. To access permit information and find permit application forms go to: dwr.colorado.gov and click on the Well Permitting box at the bottom of the Services page.
Rainwater is an economical alternative to municipal water. It is low in minerals and therefore ideal for exterior uses and irrigation of sensitive plants. Its use supports conservation practice and when properly treated can be used for potable use.
Since aquifers are geologically diverse, water use in one area does not necessarily impact water levels in another area. Studies have shown that the most significant effect on well performance is the usage activity directly around the pump. This makes conservation the most important action the well owner can do to preserve the life of the well!
How do I capture and store rainwater?
Water collected from roof downspouts into a water barrel can be used for irrigation. More complex systems divert water to an above ground or underground cistern storage for household use.
How much water can I expect to collect?
Colorado’s rainfall distribution is quite varied. On average, Douglas County receives 14-16 inches of water per year. Each inch of rain produces approximately one half gallon per square foot. A typical home with a footprint of 2000 sq. ft. can harvest up to 16,000 gallons yearly.
Resources on Rainwater Collection
- Conservation Technology
- Texas Rainwater Board – Download The Texas Manual on Rainwater (includes extensive information)
- American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association
- A Rainwater Handbook with detailed information.
- CDWR – Water Administration – Rainwater, Storm Water & Graywater