Who owns the water in the clouds? Climate change is expected to intensify competition for water resources of all kinds, including precipitation that can be created by cloud seeding. Colorado has regulated weather modification since 1963, declaring that water in the clouds above the status property of the people of the state. Other entities may now consider following suit.The Colorado Water Conservation Board issues permits for weather modification under the state Weather Modification law. A permit is required to modify the weather in Colorado. Cloud seeding contractors must work with local interests to develop an operational plan and funding for a cloud seeding project. The contractor then can apply for a permit to cloud seed from the State of Colorado on behalf of the project sponsors. The person managing the project must be qualified. Public hearings are conducted, a record of decision is developed, and if issues can be resolved and/or addressed, the CWCB director signs the permit. State grants are also available for some types of winter cloud seeding.
In addition, Colorado requires many steps to conserve and manage water, such as mandatory water meters, reuse of water when possible, and drought planning. All major water utilities must have Water Conservation Plans, (which we also may see soon in Ontario). The Water Efficiency Grant Fund helps to subsidize water conservation improvements.