Saturday, September 12, 2015

Over a Barrel

An acquaintance of mine on a major social media site recently reposted a photo depicting several rainwater collection barrels, with the caption “Anarchy is illegally capturing the rain that falls on your own roof.” The accompanying text reads:

Yes, it's actually illegal to collect rainwater in some parts of this “free” country. Why? Because the government has staked an illegitimate claim to the rain - a natural resource that falls from the sky onto your property. The stated reason is that it interferes with the water cycle, and can deplete reservoirs and rivers. 
But wait - I'm going to water my lawn and garden anyway, so either way, I'll use the water. Yes, but if you capture rainwater and use that instead of municipal resources, they can't make you pay good money for it. #BigGovProblems #AnarchyIs
No, I’m not jumping on the anarchy bandwagon, but judging by the content on the “Anarchy Is” community page, it seems to be geared more toward libertarian objectives — protesting intrusive government, rather than the traditional definition of anarchism: actively promoting the elimination of all government.

One who commented on the repost suggested that such laws are implemented out of concern for public health, because their intent is to prevent improperly stored or stagnant water that can propagate mosquitoes. Another wrote that a brief search would confirm that virtually all sensational or politically oriented memes such as these are false, so they shouldn’t be posted.

While I will sometimes attempt to correct some of the most egregious of unfounded notions that litter the internet, a few searches revealed that the original post is essentially correct; you are apparently still an anarchist, or at least a lawbreaker if you collect rainwater in Colorado, where it has been illegal since before the Civil War, when water rights were a bigger priority than mosquito control. Just four months ago, their state senate killed a bill that would have allowed citizens to collect up to 110 gallons of water in rain barrels. And in Utah, you need to register with the state to collect any appreciable amount of rainwater.

To me, this exemplifies how even a restriction that defies common sense can become irretrievably entrenched, because it allows some bureaucrat to make a buck, justify his job, or lord it over others in the name of the public good.

While the rainwater issue affecting some parts of the country may seem to be a relatively minor one, sometimes it takes a little exaggeration to encourage vigilance, and focus on the motives of those who would, for example, spread the biggest lies in order to enforce unreasonable regulations that do destroy freedoms, jobs, and people’s lives, while calling those who oppose them stupid and ignorant, and conflating them with Holocaust deniers.

But only a science denier or conspiracist would ever think that could actually happen.


  1. Utah, huh? Gotta watch them Mormons. :)

    1. Well, some are okay. ;)

      I'm sure it had something to do with an incident involving Jello salad made with bootleg rainwater.

    2. Okay...I'll stipulate "some."

      And in an environment like that, I can understand bootleg rainwater. You have to leave some time to run in to Tosche Station to pick up some power converters.

      Also: mmmmm Jello salad!

  2. You guys make me smile. :)

    See ya later. I'm gonna go collect some illegal rainwater. I hear Hunter has some barrels...

  3. You guys make me smile. :)

    See ya later. I'm gonna go collect some illegal rainwater. I hear Hunter has some barrels...

  4. Is it just me, or does the very title of this post make you want to break out into a rousing chorus of Science Fiction Double Feature?

    You know:

    "I knew Leo G. Carroll Was over a barrel.
    When Tarantula took to the hills.
    And I really got hot.
    When I saw Janette Scott
    Fight a Triffid that spits poison and kills..."