(May 15) – Rep. Randy Fischer’s bill to bring Colorado up to speed with the other Western states on water conservation was signed today by Gov. John Hickenlooper on the main campus of Colorado State University.

HB13-1044 creates a legal definition for “graywater,” which comes from post-use sources other than toilets and urinals, kitchen sinks, dishwashers, and nonlaundry utility sinks. It does not meet drinking water standards but is purer than wastewater. Rather than dispose of graywater in a septic system or send it to a wastewater treatment plant, it can be used for irrigation or in air-conditioning systems.

Currently, graywater is classified as wastewater and may not be used outside the home. The new law gives counties and municipalities the option to permit graywater use in residential and commercial settings, as is done in all the other Western states, and directs the state Water Quality Control Commission to adopt public health guidelines that encourage its use.

Rep. Fischer noted that with Colorado’s water resources already stretched thin in some places and the state’s population projected to double by 2050, water conservation is of critical importance.

“This new law helps to address the problem of  how we are going to provide water for Colorado’s growing population,” Rep. Fischer said, adding that he hoped graywater use would slow the trend in which cities buy up water rights from the dwindling agricultural sector.

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