Isn’t this bizarre? And as water becomes scarce, I predict it won’t be long until you see the same thing here in the Northeast. Corporations in several areas have already tried to negotiate rights to selling drinking water as a commodity.
People get confused: The water bill you pay now is an assessment for water treatment, not the actual water itself. Eventually our drinking water will be metered, just like electricity:
As bizarre as it sounds, laws restricting property owners from “diverting” water that falls on their own homes and land have been on the books for quite some time in many Western states. Only recently, as droughts and renewed interest in water conservation methods have become more common, have individuals and business owners started butting heads with law enforcement over the practice of collecting rainwater for personal use.
Check out this YouTube video of a news report out of Salt Lake City, Utah, about the issue. It’s illegal in Utah to divert rainwater without a valid water right, and Mark Miller of Mark Miller Toyota, found this out the hard way.
After constructing a large rainwater collection system at his new dealership to use for washing new cars, Miller found out that the project was actually an “unlawful diversion of rainwater.” Even though it makes logical conservation sense to collect rainwater for this type of use since rain is scarce in Utah, it’s still considered a violation of water rights which apparently belong exclusively to Utah’s various government bodies.
I know wars have been fought over water rights in the West, but it does seem they need to update those laws to deal with the present reality. It’s even stranger in light of laws that permit property owners to produce harmful amounts of stormwater runoff onto their neighbors’ properties.