Government Makes Rainwater Illegal

In news that seems like it came straight out of Bizzaro World, a Man in Oregon has been sentenced to 30 days in jail after authorities say he had the nerve to collect rainwater.


As bizarre as it sounds, I guess it really shouldn’t be a surprise. We have covered numerous stories of how the government has been chipping away at the rights of land. From survival gardens being seized to the land owners in California who are being forced back onto the grid, people’s rights as land owners are being shredded by local, state and federal governments.

In the latest abuse of power, a man in Oregon has been sentenced to 30 days in jail and ordered to pay a $1,500 fine for collecting rainwater on his own land. Gary Harrington was convicted of nine misdemeanor crimes for filling his three man-made reservoirs with rainwater and snow runoff. The state of Oregon claims the water that fell from the sky, is owned by them and the Medford Water Commission.

Outlawing Rain Water

It just doesn’t get any crazier than this. What’s next charging us for the air that we breathe?

How we ended up in a place that allows the government to tell us what we can or can’t do on our own land is crazy in and of itself, but for the government to claim they now own the water that falls from the sky is almost beyond belief.


As unreal as it may sound, at least 9 states have made it illegal to collect rainwater on your own land. Utah, Oregon, Colorado and a number of other states have passed rainwater laws that either limit or all out ban the collection of rainwater. Apparently, it’s alright for mega corporations to take it, bottle it and then sell it to the public for profit; but if you should try to collect any for yourself – You might need a lawyer!

In this video from 2008, a Utah News Channel highlights the problem.

This issue has nothing to do with saving the environment.

In fact, a number of independent studies have all proven that letting people collect rainwater on their properties actually reduces demand from water facilities and improves conservation efforts. But therein lies the problem. Not only is this about controlling the people, but what lies at the heart of this problem seems to be money. If the government allows people to collect their own rainwater, how would the local water facilities charge the public for water?

Water has become big business. In fact, water is one of the fastest growing industries in the world today. Americans spend billions of dollars each year on bottled water – not counting the billions that go to government agencies – and this resource is quickly becoming one of the most politicized resources in the world.

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  1. This seems a little much. How do they find out they are collecting in the first place? Also too with rain water you cant just let it sit so how are they keeping it pure? Plus what else are they doing with the water besides drinking it?

      • I have several ponds on my ranch/farm. I do not irrigate from them but do water cattle and horses from these ponds. Does that mean I’m collecting water illegally here in Missouri?

          • It is not illegal anywhere. Back in 2009 they wanted to put restrictions by having you get a permit so you would not contaminate ground water but that has been rescinded. The guy who got 30 days was refusing to get the permit so he built 3 reservoirs anyways. Please people do your research.

    • “a little too much”!? This is insane, is what it is. There is a vast difference between building a dam of some sort upstream of your neighbors, thus limiting or altogether denying them access to a water source that you-all share, and capturing rain that fall down from the sky and catching it in your own personal water reservoir. Regardless of the size of that reservoir. Only an absolute moron, or a lawyer, would argue against that. And we all know how Jesus Christ, the only Begotten Son of Lord God Almighty, felt about them. Woe unto you lawyers!

        • How could they even consider something that they cannot control or produce, understandably if they dug the wells and pumped the water then they could charge for it, but rainwater???? that’s God’s provision. if you cannot make a change to such a perverse system, God can, and those who uphold such a law will answer to him
          in time

          • Why not file charges that the state and water company are trespassing on your land by letting their water fall on it without your permission? I mean, I can’t take my belongings and store them in my neighbor’s yard, why can they?

          • Does this mean they can be sued for water damage? Or will they throw out the fact that you don’t own your property, they do, but you are still responsible for it. Socialism at it’s finest!!

          • @ Lynne Crass:
            Well, that’s rather “Capitalism at it’s finest” – making people pay for everything, even for rain water!

          • This is redickless and forgive me lord 4 saying this but this is total bullcrap of the highest dagree. U really can’t stop poeple from collcting rainwater any more then producing rain yourself theres only one of two poeple who truly own the water and that is God and/or Jesus himself.

          • that was what my people said when we were told we didnt own our own land. There are people who say they own the moon. Soon it will be the air.

          • I can not believe that our Gov can do this…we will have to have a no. on us pretty soon…It is scary..

          • Lynne it’s CAPITALISM at its finest, allowing corporations to rob us at every turn, not socialism–yet another idiot who has no idea what socialism is

      • Micheal, not judging you, just holding you accountable… your language does not honor Jesus Christ the only Begotten Son of Lord God Almighty. Your point is perfect except for the foul language… just saying…

        • Cat
          You are kidding, right? Besides, you didn’t even spell his name right. Holding him accountable? His language is fine – coming from a believer here, I see NOTHING that dishonors Jesus Christ other than you judging, or rather, as you say, holding accountable. Get off your high horse and let us live in the Freedom Christ Provides through love an grace NOT CONDEMNATION.

          • Dianne
            I think Cat saw the word dam and did not understand that it was not the word damn. She couldn’t really see and comprehend because her horse has long legs. Forgive her, God watches over babies and …
            I am a believer but am not living accordingly so I’m ok with pointing out stupidity.

        • Cat, you should apologize to Dianne right now for offending her. Don’t you know that the 1st Amendment doesn’t apply to Christians? Besides, we should respect other people’s cultures. Michael and Cat and many of God’s children don’t see profanity as base and vulgar. It is simply a way of calling attention to a very important message. It sounds so grown up too – that’s why it’s called “adult language”.

          • Cussing is considered vulgar and offensive to a lot of people Christian or not and is no way considered “grown up” by any stretch of the imagination.

          • Why would anyone care? I am to temper my thoughts and speech as to not offend the sheep? That’s NEVER gonna happen. I’ll say what I please, It’s one of the few freedoms we have left. I’ll die before I placate followers of fairy tales.

          • studies have proven that people who cuss are more honest than people that don’t. words are just words unless you are judging in which it is not your place to judge ..remember???… now on to the fact the government and states believe they own mother nature .. they have really lost their minds.

        • What foul language? I think you need to get your glasses and your high horse checked and hold yourself accountable.

          • off of the subject people. so if I plant a garden and the good lord himself waters it. I have to give the proeduce to his service and no one else. but the bible says. render unto ceasar that which is ceasar’s. check into water right laws. many people have let theirs that they owned lapse then the water companies snatch them up. but water from rain if it waters the lawn or garden and that’s all you want it for they get it anyway. the ground soaks it up. reservoirs, are set up to catch rain water. we pay taxes for reservoirs. get to the root of it. educate your selves don’t just rant. fight city hall.

          • Jean, You have a perfect right to call Sarah Palin stupid when you have been a mayor, a governor, a vice presidential candidate and an author. Until you have managed a fraction of this, you have a lot of nerve!

        • Cat- there is no foul language. “dam’ is for water storage, like the Hoover Dam. You are thinking of “damn” the curse word. You are holing Michael accountable for nothing. I find it hard to believe that after this entire article, you focused merely on your misunderstanding of the word “dam.”

          • I bet Cat was not so ignorant as to think that the word “dam” is bad language. It was the word “lawyer”.

          • Cat – Alaskamom & Lorie what foul language?? Regardless of your misunderstanding of the word “dam” (Duhhh) it is not a dirty word and alot more colorful wording could of been used! All of you need to slow down and not be so quick to judge–Our good Lord says not to worry about the sliver of wood in your neighbors eye when your own eye has a beam in it! Your momma must of never told you if you cannot say something nice then dont say anything at all!

        • Why censor ourselves because of a fictional character from middle-eastern mythology? Should I be careful not to say bad things about Thor when there’s a lightning storm? Get a grip.

        • Nothing new here in Oregon.A few years ago one guy was trying to sell large rain barrles that people that people could catch the rain water from their roof. After about a week they came into the printers shop to stop him from selling these barrles. You can still go online and find many here in Portland, but just watch out for the cops. Very Sad.

        • I just entered this site for the first time. Christians who use their god to defend their right to downgrade those who may not believe in god or those who do but, do not meet THEIR standards should not judge. That is your god’s position. Almost every comments in this site are negative and hateful.. Will everyone please try to be kind to each other and stick to the subject about rainwater.

        • michael was speaking about a dam, ya know the one that blocks water and creates a resevior like the TVA. he was not using foul language…..

        • Bobbie, is like a LOT of people who live in Portland, OR. They just sit around smoking dope or take other drugs. They don;t know what they are talking about. LOL…. Sad but True.

          • He’s actually telling the truth. Do your research before you toss around accusations.

      • I’m not a lawyer but in this day and age I can imagine a lawyer making a case against collecting water and not allowing it to flow downstream to neighbors who didn’t get a shower. What I can’t understand is how the politicians who make these laws are voted into office a second time.

        • they want to control everything we do, if you drink water without fluoride it defeats the purpose of making you dumber and sicker than you already are….the government sucks

      • There is no God, at least not in the sense you imagine. The only “afterlife” is that enjoyed by others when you are gone. Your life here is the only one you get. You will die and that will be it for you. All that will remain is the imprint you leave on others. This life is not just about you. It is almost all about those who come after. Enjoy your brief moment of life as best you can but to really make it special spend most of it trying to make sure that those that come after you share the incredible luck of being conscious that you have enjoyed. Death is coming. There is no escape. It is not a good thing or a bad thing, it just is. Resign yourself to this simple reality and do some good while you are here for those you share the world with now and, more importantly, for those yet to come. Plant a tree the shade of which you will never know.

    • They found out by the hovering seeing eyes that they have now watching people. It was on news that is what was used. That they are using the drones for such use along with many other uses to fine illegal activity.

      But yes, I highly feel that this is BS that now our government owns what comes from the clouds? REALLY?!!?!

      This and many other things have gone way to far in our country and to many are sitting by just letting it happen.

      • Ditto, I feel theyre doing this b/c they want use to drink water theyre poisoning w/ flouride smh sosad..had no idea until I learned abt this a some minutes ago… its crazy

    • to bert RE: how did they know: I put a 10X10 gazebo with one side just under the house gutter over hang to get the extra covered area. The gazebo was just light steel frame with canvas top & mosquito netting for sides. Next I knew i had increased property tax and called the property assesor and inquired if they had come on my property and was told no they were viewing property by satelite and as it appeared attached to house they were increasing my tax because it enlarged my house. With the drones now it will be worse

    • I’ll tell you what, if its illegal to collect rain water that is a natural resource, then start suing the government for all the damage that is caused by rainfall. Floods, harvest are ruined by rainfall, house’s damaged, anything that rainfall would cause damage to, suing the government since they want to own it, let them pay for it.

    • NO it is NOT true. Please do the research and you will find out the truth. it is NOT illegal. The number of dams you can build on your property is regulated but they are bing encouraged.

    • U have to tell them that their water is trespassing and assaulting me my home my animals and since u own it ur going to jail

    • If you collect in tanks from your own roof structures it is not illegal. Also, rain water collected in tanks that are used can sit for a very long time because the water gets refilled and replaced by new rains. Such water does not go bad at all. Only if it sits for a long period of time without use and without subsequent refills will it go stagnant.

          • Hah, very good point. Everyone in the state needs to contact the owner of the right on the next heavy fall and demand they come and remove their water from the property. Tell them that you will bill them for your time and use of tools if they prefer ;)

  2. if no one owns the rain, then how does a local government own it. when it touches my property it is mine.

  3. There are few things that this present government does that should surprise anyone anymore This is the plan to make sure we always have the haves and the have nots.Making the leaders come to the fold by forcing them to live the same as we do Insurance Pensions and the laws are a good start

  4. wtf are they thinking that the state controls the rain? what’s next, thought police? whoever thought this applied to rainfall should be checked into a rubber room for at least a decade… talking about a rules lawyer, fuck…~!

  5. in my defense i was not collecting rain water, your honor. I was detaining it for trespassing, and illegal theft of my land through erosion. Since these folks claim ownership of said water they should be paying me for the storage of, and damages caused by said rainwater during it assault on my property. yeah right lol.

  6. Well then if the states own the rain that falls from the skies, the next time too much falls and does damage to your property, file a suit against them for the damage ! Then lets watch them squrim ! ;)

  7. All these government entities do these stupid and illegal things because we let them. We just sit back and shake our head’s, then change the channel on the TV and make some popcorn.

    • Agreed.But, people sit by and let it happen because 1. The gov’t controls the television media (therefore, telling you whatever they want you to hear… aka their “truths”); 2. The gov’t puts fluoride into the “public drinking water” which dumbs us down from doing anything about it (I.e. standing up for our rights, starting a revolution, etc…) 3. All of the above is the exact reason they deny you any rights to rain water conservation.. It’s all about gov’t control, sheeple!

      • Not to mention the public school systems pump out dumbed down mindless drones by the millions every year… Another reason I do not have cable, we use our Zerowater filter, and we home school….. So sad

  8. I was hoping the reason maybe was to do with insect (mosquito) control, but being just because someone already has legal claim to the rain is a head shaker, add rainwater smart people collect to the list of things to be taken “from our cold dead hands”. 

  9. That is the stupidest thing I have EVER heard !!! In Canada they sell rain barrels so we can collect it !
    The rain falls from heaven…God gives it to us…..nobody OWNS it…duh!

  10. sure am glad i live in tennessee where here we’re free to live our live in peace and quiet. how come all you sheep let these lords take control of your lives and turned you people into serfs? to lazy to get off your asses and stand up for your selves? GOD pity you fools for letting yourselves be made into slaves. don’t you know that you can vote these masters out of office. get some backbone take back what is yours and live your lives in freedom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Samuel Tucker: if you think TN is “free” of this kind of gov’t stupidity, you’ve not been paying attention to our General Assembly lately, to say nothing of the Boards of Mayors and Aldermen, County Commissions, and other bodies both regional and local who deign to craft legal farces in our state. Ask a business owner, a farmer, a tradesman, and a state employee what kinds of unnecessary, ass-backwards, stupid regulations they have to observe in executing their daily tasks in their various careers. Our state legislature is just as corrupt and controlling as some of these others. Tennesseans are usually just too busy trying to make ends meet to notice, until it’s too late.

    • Oh Boy Sam, Where so I start? You live in Tennessee which is the ONLY state in which the TSA is DRIVING YOUR HIGHWAY’S and pulling people over like the Gustapo, Hardly a free State in my opinion…On the other hand, I do respect your passion for Your State, It is beautiful…

  11. How long , people… how long are we going to put up with this over reaching, this tyranny? How long before we remember we have hind legs and get up to do something to stop these tyrants?
    There’s a reason the “powers-that-be” are determined to disarm all Americans. It’s not for our safety, it’s for their ease in robbing us of our remaining rights and their success in their Socialist coup!

  12. ok if they own the water the case of a flood due to rains your home gets washed away the goverment will pay ? the water did the damage they “own” it !! is that not how it works ?????

    • Why when there is a flood and you go for assistance either from government,or insurance company’s their excuse is “that’s an act of god”.

  13. So does this mean we can blame droughts on the government in those states????? That would seem to be just as ridiculous!

  14. I think the government who brought this rediculous law should be disbanded immediately. Sounds like the deville himself is running the state

  15. The government takes just a little here, then a little there so that the average person never notices, or just assumes that they have the right to do so. Cause hey they did this that means that this over here must be ok! Load of freakin crap…

  16. What are you all communists? You think no one should own land either? You got to pay to play people. If you’re out there surviving on your own you’re not dependant on employment for survival. If no one is dependant then there’s no one to do the all the work. With no work there’s no economy. We can’t have that. So go mortgage a house, finance a car and get a damn job.

    • Little extreme dee.. This is one person, we aren’t talking about the entire state of Oregon becoming self sufficient, therefore I doubt the economy is going to take the hit you’re imagining. If you’re that worried about it then you go mortgage your house again, finance another car and get a second job, then maybe the economy will get back on track. However, I’m willing to bet you don’t want to do that. Though by now I’m sure you caught the flaw in your logic-“If no one is dependent then there is no one to do [the] all the work.” if no one is dependent then there wouldn’t be a need for anyone to do anyone else’s work because, well, we wouldn’t be dependent on anyone but ourselves…

      Also, the adjective dependent is -ent not -ant.

      • I’m sorry Mr. Marx that you think rain “belongs to the common man.” This is a free country and no one can tell us we can’t own land or rain. If you want everything for free you should move to Russia.

        • It’s Mr. Maresh, you were close though.

          Where are you coming up with the garbage you’re typing? I never said the “rain belongs to the common man” I never said it belonged to anyone. I also never said I wanted everything for free, now you’re just making things up.

          • I get what he’s saying. The commoditization of basic, essential natural resources. If the government (mafia force) can find a way to control access to anything they will sell it and tax it and then force markets to it. I bet the bottled water industry would love the government granting permits on rain collection. It’s precisely Marx’ fundemental issue with capitalism. Government creates a helpless dependency by restricting access to soil, water, sun, air, seeds, etc forcing everyone to go into debt for the most basic needs and thus forced by proxy to work for wages to live. Then call it a free country over and over until everyone believes it to the point they will kill for their “liberty.”

            Controlling access to rainwater should be no surprise to anyone. You’ve been comfortable with these sort of outrageous things all your life. You’re so used to them you don’t even realize it.

    • I don’t know what you are smoking or popping but that is so completely not what is being said here. This is about rain falling on land owned by an individual and the law saying they can’t claim it for their own use on the land it fell on. Bottom line is the government is trying to control water so they can control the people more.

  17. Same thing, here in Greece!!!.. also agriculture organizations told to farmers that they should report all springs or other water sources (wells) on their farms.

  18. this issue is yet another example of just how far out of control evey level of government is in this country… “they” will do something, in some location which will spark immediate negative reactionary response and “they” will be left wondering what happened and how… all “they” will need to do is sit down and read the foolishness “they” foist onto the American People…

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