Man jailed for collecting rainwater on his own property

Collecting rainwater 
By: Sarah Weiss 

Gary Harrington of Eagle Point, Oregon, was charged with nine misdemeanor charges, sentenced to 30 days in jail and received $1,500 in fines, all because he had three reservoirs on his property to collect and use rainwater and snow runoff.

The court has given Harrington two weeks to report to the Jackson County Jail to serve his sentence, but Harrington will appeal his conviction.

“The government is bullying me, and if you just lay over, die and give up, that just makes them bigger bullies. So, we as Americans, need to stand up for our constitutional rights and hang tough. This is a good country, we’ll prevail,” he said.

Harrington's case first began in 2002, when state water managers came to him and told him that the reservoirs are illegal. They told him that according to Oregon water laws, all water is publicly owned, therefore, anyone who wants to store any type of water on their property must first obtain a permit from state water managers.

Harrington had applied for three permits to legally have his reservoirs on his property and he got one permit for the reservoirs that had been on his property for 37 years, but the state ultimately reversed the decision. Then they arrested him for illegally running water reservoirs.