(KCPW News) With the growing environmental movement pressing for water-wise development, constituents are urging lawmakers to change the current law that prevents residents from storing rainwater. Two senators are sponsoring competing bills, both of which are moving forward in the Legislature almost simultaneously. One of the sponsors, Salt Lake City's Sen. Scott McCoy, acknowledged the two are very similar, but that his is more technical.
"In the end, we're in complete agreement with what we want the end result to be. There are just, you know, two different avenues," McCoy said. "And there are various issues with each one, absolutely. That is an accusation that is fair against my bill is that it's not the simplest solution. It does require a little more of a legal framework and bureaucracy. I mean, I admit that.
The other bill is sponsored by rural Weber County Sen. Scott Jenkins. McCoy's bill sets up a legal process for water suppliers to grant permission for individuals to collect and use rain water. His bill has the support of Salt Lake City, which was concerned with Jenkins' bill during its Senate committee hearing. Jenkins said he purposefully aimed for simplicity when he drafted his bill.
"I says [sic], ‘OK, my gutters run down my house and go out on my lawn. All I want [is] to take those same gutters and run them into a tank. And then when I want to, I want to get a pump in there and pump it out on my lawn.' So the water ends up going to the same places. All I'm going to do is store it until I decide to use it,'" Jenkins said. "And so, I want to get away from the legal envelope and simply say you have the right to store 2,500 gallons. And it's that simple."
Jenkins' bill passed out of the Senate yesterday with a 24-to-three vote, and moves forward to the House for further debate. While McCoy's bill still faces another vote in the Senate, a preliminary vote yesterday in favor of it means it's likely to be approved as well.