Photo by Ladycliff via Flickr Creative Commons
While rainwater collection is a contentious issue in some areas, California is looking to make it a little easier to use your rain barrels as a water source. This week, AB 275, the Rainwater Capture Act of 2011 was introduced into the California State Assembly, a bill that would allow landowners the authority to install rain barrel systems and not only capture water for outdoor use, but for indoor use as well. The NRDC Switchboard reports, "The bill would also authorize landowners to install systems to capture rainwater for use, with proper treatment, in indoor non-potable applications, such as toilet or urinal flushing. Allowing rainwater to be used for indoor applications would greatly expand the opportunities to capture and use rainwater in the state. The more uses rainwater can be directed to, the faster storage tanks can be emptied, and the more water can be captured."
With a growing population and water sources maxed out especially in the face of long-lasting droughts, California needs to use whatever water it can get. Embracing the refreshing burst of rain the state has experienced the last couple months with an improved policy on rainwater catchment could help alleviate the strain on other sources like the Sierra snowpack and Colorado River, and it's a way to utilize all that rain that simply falls on rooftops and streets, only to be wooshed away into stormwater systems rather than back into groundwater supplies.
Of course, the benefits of rainwater catchment systems would be dependent on homeowners actually installing the systems. But it would be wonderful to be able to utilize rainwater for such uses as flushing the toilet, rather than wasting drinkable water.
But that's if the bill passes. We'll keep you updated.
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