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2005 Senate Bill 5113: Regarding rainwater collection
Introduced by Sen. Paull Shin, (Edmonds) (D) on January 13, 2005 To authorize the Department of Ecology to permit by rule, under conditions appropriate to the water resources inventory area, the use of rain barrels and cisterns to collect rainwater intended for beneficial use on the same property from where it was collected. The bill remedies a regulatory problem stemming from a 1917 law that requires the state to issue use permits for all waters, including rain water. In recent times some counties have been denying building permits for residences that included cisterns due to lack of clarity about the 1917 law. This bill would remove the mandatory permitting process and allow the Department of Ecology to establish general rules for the use of rain barrels and cisterns for beneficial use. For many years, people have collected rainwater for use on their property. This practice, while generally harmless, may be illegal. This bill is designed to clear up the confusion regarding the legal use of rain barrels and cisterns to collect water for beneficial use on one’s own property. Landowners would not need to seek permits on an individual basis.   Official Text and Analysis.
Referred to the Senate Water, Energy, and Environment Committee on January 13, 2005
Testimony in support offered to the Senate Water, Energy, and Environment Committee on January 26, 2005 By Senator Shin, prime sponsor; Richard Marin, Nordland, WA; Joe Stohr, DOE, Tim Pope, Northwest. They testified that it is good stewardship to allow this use and this bill is good language and policy. The DOE receives calls weekly regarding requirements for permits for rain barrels and the DOE doesn't require it although law technically says permits are needed. A review of program is suggested after a period of time along with a report back to the Committee. Residential uses vary from a few very small systems of 6,000 to 7,000 gallons to 30,000 gallons. Limiting water to use on property limits the size of cisterns and recharge from cisterns occurs throughout the year. Re-use is a good thing but the bill should be broad enough to allow some commercial and agricultural uses.

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