Collecting Rain Water can Lead to Jail Time!

Did you know you can go to jail for collecting rainwater?!

Gary Harrington of Eagle Point, Oregon has collected water in three reservoirs on his own property for years upon years.  The government finally found out, then sentenced Mr. Harrington to 30 days in jail and fines of more than $1,500.

The state of Oregon believes that all water is the property of the state and that if you want to use water in any way, you must first obtain a permit from the state.

Mr. Harrington was informed by the state in 2002 that the state had received “complaints” regarding his reservoirs, one of which had been on his property for almost four decades.  When Mr. Harrington received the notice from the state, he promptly applied for the appropriate permits.  In 2003 the permits were granted, but shortly thereafter, they were revoked without explanation.

“They issued me my permits.  I had my permits in hand and they retracted them just arbitrarily, basically.  They took them back and said ‘No, you can’t have them,’ so I’ve been fighting it ever since,”  Harrington told CNS News.

Mr. Harrington plans to appeal the conviction which includes nine misdemeanor charges against him for having “Three Illegal Reservoirs” ON HIS OWN PROPERTY.  Mr. Harrington also maintains that the charges stem from a 1925 law that states the city of Medford owns all water in the Big Butte Creek Watershed and its tributaries.  He also states that “Way back in 1925 the city of Medford got a unique withdrawal that withdrew all – supposedly all – the water out of a single basin and supposedly for the benefit of the city of Medford.  The withdrawal said the stream and its tributaries.  It didn’t mention anything about diffused water, but yet now, they’re trying to expand that to include that rainwater and they’re using me as the goat to do it.”  Mr. Harrington’s argument is that he is NOT diverting water from Big Butte Creek and that the water he collects is “diffused water” and therefore is not subject to the 1925 law.

Mr. Harrington also says, “They’ve (the government) just gotten to be big bullies and if you just lay over and die and give up, that just makes them bigger bullies.  So, we as Americans, we need to stand on our Constitutional Rights, on our Rights as citizens and hang tough.  This is a good country, we’ll prevail.”

Several states such as Oregon and Colorado have tough laws regarding the collection of rainwater, while other states have laws making it mandatory to be hooked into the energy grid whether they want to or not.  All of this points to a government which aims to control the citizens instead of ensuring they can live in peace in what is supposed to be “the land of the free”.  People like Mr. Harrington should be supported as much as possible as they are at the forefront of fighting for our rights to be free citizens of these United States of America.


Do you believe we still live in the “Land of the Free?!”  Let me know in the comment area below.

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