Who’ll stop the rain…

Well, they may not stop the rain, but it looks like the Washington State Department of Ecology is going to seriously interfere with rainwater harvesting. Check out this press release:
Department of Ecology News Release – June 10, 2008
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
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On a more lively note, we attended a solstice party down-county at Endor. Well, it’s not really Endor, but it looks pretty darn close, being in the rainforest on the banks of the Skagit river. We toasted the longest day of the year with sima and doughnuts, traditional Finnish solstice fare, thanks to one of our hosts’ Finnish heritage. Here’s a pic of sima in the bottle. That’s raisins in the bottom of it. If anyone is interested, I can post the recipe with pictures another day. You can also read more here.

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!

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6 thoughts on “Who’ll stop the rain…”

  1. Isn’t it weird that the world has come to the point of regulating rain water collection? I can recall visiting my grandmother on her farm in the wild regions of Murchison (South Island of New Zealand~ not far from the real regions of Endor, where they filmed Lord of the Rings)and she relied on rainwater for her daily water useage. No modern conveniences there~ being of Scottish descent, she also used and re-used her Blueo bags for washing~ another story…A recipe for Sima? Yes please….I am happy to hear that your transplants are doing well~ mine poked their heads up, thought “to Hell with it” and went dormant again~ Ah well, the joys of crop farming….

  2. I DID NOT know this! Not so long ago, DOE was going to impose meters on wells (may still be in the works, I don’t know..) For some crazy reason WA seems to think they own Earth! and Mother Nature! Scarey thing is, the Feds are believing the same thing! Where are we headed, as a country??!!I’ll be back to visit..

  3. W.O.W.~I do not think that it is due to the fact that “WA think that they own th earth” but more so that they are trying to do something about conservation of our resources~ and, as usual, the “powers that be” look to restrict, tax or outlaw those attempts~

  4. I can see that it’s a good idea to keep people from harvesting so much rainwater that larger watersheds suffer, but given that so much rain just runs off impermeable surfaces and int ostorm drains, they’d be better off funding programs to get more people harvesting rainwater.I’ve some articles lately about water being the next resource crunch. I guess any government would want to make sure they had a handle on such a crucial one as water.

  5. That is simply unbelievable…what’s next? taxing people who use solar cookers with a “sun tax” ?? arrggghhhhh 🙂

  6. I’ll post the sima tutorial tomorrow. Great pictures and instructions, thanks to Saara, author of the Feasting in the Skagit Foodshed blog.

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