Thursday, June 3, 2010

Rainwater Harvesting in Utah


The Utah Water Law and Water Rights Blog informs that the Utah Legislature passed a bill permitting the capture and storage of precipitations.

This seems to be part of a trend in water law towards regulating ever closer to the upstream reaches of the hydrologic cycle. Such a trend appears justified in areas traditionally left unregulated in order to avoid a "tragedy of the commons" given the increasing exploitation of and competition for a limited resource.

Salient points of the Utah legal provision are:

- Reliance on the doctrine of beneficial use tied to the parcel on which the water is captured and stored;

- Constraints on the volumes of rainwater that can be stored - 2 500 gallons if stored in an underground container, and 2 x 100 gallons covered containers if stored above ground. Question: if stored above ground in uncovered container, would there be no volume limit? If such is the case, would this be an indirect invitation to alter extensively overland run-offs by changing the morphology of one's parcel?

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