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The how-to of harvesting rainwater

Imagine all the rain collected during our rainstorm the first week of May. If you had a barrel system already in place, the 48-hour downpour was a gift from the heavens.

It was a desire to conserve that brought 30 Douglas County residents together to take part in a rain harvesting workshop put on by Douglas County and the Colorado State University Extension Office in late April.

The workshop discussed how to legally and technically collect rainwater in Colorado.

Up until 2016, it was illegal to collect the rain that fell in the state. Now, residents are allowed to collect 110 gallons of rain from any rain event in two 55-gallon barrels.

Guinevere Nelson, Douglas County Extension Director said, “There are some technical aspects to know, like how long should you store water, and how to assure bacteria and mosquito larvae don’t grow in standing water. It is also an important tool to direct rainwater to gardens in times of drought conditions.”

She went on to say that if you missed the workshop, “Use two 55-gallon HDPE rain barrels for the total 110 gallons and keep your rain on your property. You can then use it for your garden (veggies and flowers).”

There are no plans to do another workshop currently, but offering another one is not out of the question. There seems to be a lot of interest in this effort, and educating the public is key to success.

Nelson said, “The County collected emails from residents who were interested and wanted to be aware of future rainwater topics. I believe they have a large email list as a result.”

There is specific information you need to know before starting your own water collection system. Anyone interested in learning more can call the Douglas County Extension Office at 720-733-6951. Or, reach out to the Division of Water Resources with any additional questions you might have.

By Karen Leigh




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