Ecology begins statewide rulemaking for rainwater collection
OLYMPIA – To clarify regulations governing the collection and use of rainwater, Ecology is seeking the public’s help in drafting a statewide rainwater rule.
Three open house sessions for education and public discussion about collecting rainwater for beneficial use are scheduled this month in Everett, Lacey and Wenatchee.
Ecology doesn’t require homeowners to obtain water right permits to collect and store small amounts of rainwater.
The new rule for the first time would define how much rainwater can be collected and used before a permit is required. The rule isn’t intended to regulate storage and release of rainwater when no “beneficial use” will be made of the water.
Under state law, beneficial uses include recreation, irrigation, residential water supplies and power generation.
Washington law identifies rainwater as a water resource of the state. Residential rainwater collection systems can range from a 50-gallon rain barrel to cisterns of 30,000 gallons or more. Commercial systems can be much larger.
Ecology is seeking public comment on what the threshold should be for requiring a water right permit for those systems that could affect the water supply of senior water right holders or stream flows in some river basins. Non-potable uses of rainwater typically include toilet flushing and irrigation for gardens.
In water-short areas such as the San Juan Islands, some homeowners use rainwater as the sole source of their water supply. Ecology is especially interested in encouraging rainwater collection in urban areas like Puget Sound where it can be used to reduce stormwater runoff and supplement municipal water supplies.
“A statewide rule would remove the ambiguity about rainwater collection from existing water law,” said Ken Slattery, manager of Ecology’s Water Resources Program. “We want to ensure that collection and storage of rainwater happens in a way that is consistent with the protection of stream flows and water rights.”http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/hq/rwh.html
A couple days of sun makes a huge difference to the plants. This single poppy is now surrounded by many more. The garden is perking up and most of the replants are doing great. Still not sure about getting a tomato harvest in time though. And we found out that wireworms like radishes! We may have to grow them in a raised bed with hand-fluffed soil next year.
Mercia and Magnus, tandem sleeping. They’ve gotten good about going outside, but still come in to use the litterbox. Oh well…
This weekend, we’ll start building the range shelter. It will have 2 open stalls, one for Ryder and one spare. Should be loads of fun, considering the forecast is for temps in the 80’s!