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 is too easy. Post a no dumping sign and research the laws related to dumping and abandoned materials. If he doesn’t own the water than whoever does is dumping it without permission onto his building and property. I would serve them notice to cease and desist dumping this material or else yield ownership rights of the water. Pretty simple matter really. If someone consistently dumps a bag of Benjamin Franklins on my yard, I will start picking them up and using them. Why should it be any different with water. After all if you buy water at a convenience store in 20oz increments, it costs twice as much as gasoline.

  2. You all need to go back and read Megakari’s comment to understand the situation between the landowner and the city of Medford, OR.

  3. hmm, hubby just set up a rain barrel last night, wonder how my neighbors will react to that. I have had them threaten me over my compost pile (I fixed that with a compost container no more problems). I have had the police coming and taking pictures of my BACK PORCH b/c neighbors said I had trash on it (1 piece of furniture that needed to go), just chairs and coolers and th grill for heaven’s sake! Where is the freedom we have to pursue life and happiness?? Oh yeah, we only have that with God NOT GOVERNMENT!

  4. Wait, wait. The state is saying that rain is owned by them and the Medford Water Commission? Sweet! everytime you have a rain-related car accident, damage to your house, or are inconvenienced by rain, Sue the socks off of them. That should also effectively remove any act of god clause in insurance do to them claiming ownership. Slip in the mud? No problem, just sue the state and water company for medical expenses, lost wages, personal damages, and mental trauma.

  5. Think about this. If the state can claim ownership of rainwater or water in the air, then what next will they claim. Claim ownership of the oxygen in the air? A breathing tax next?

  6. Start a petition people get as many signatures as you can to say it violates your right as a land owner to collect water on your own land. Send it to Washington.

  7. Are you kidding me? Here in Ohio we have rain barrels connected to the downspouts to collect rain for watering our plants. Since when did government own what falls from the sky? I’m beginning to think my husband who came from a communist country is right. This is exactly what his life was like there, every time we hear something like this, he says we better wake up in America, don’t think it can’t happen! Slowly taking all our rights away. There will only be rich and poor, no middle class.

  8. Just how arrogant humans can be to Mother Earth, First we almost kill her with pollution just because arrogant corporate humans know just poring waste in to the waterways with out treating the waste water will make them more profit, and now arrogant government humans have clamed to own her water because mere common humans are not smart enough to manage water on their own ,The Arrogant government humans make more legislation, to tell the mere common humans how to manage water something we have done since humans first appeared. When are the majority of humans going to say “ENOUGH”?

  9. PEOPLE IN CHINA ARE READING THIS AND GOING I THOUGHT WE HAD IT BAD BUt JEESE!!!!!!!!!! once again from England we all find this out of this world and our police would just feel stupid and pathetic for trying arrest someone reusing rainwater.

  10. By the way again sorry how the fuck is your govement controlling!!!!!!!!!!! whether or not you can reuse rainwater like its a normal thing to do but the whole idea of having an NHS (national health service) they have convinced tones of you this is a sign of communion and really bad idea when it clearly is the way forward. its right tones of Americans have been stupidly easily influences by massively corrupt ideas.


  11. Utah attempted to set it right with SB32, Rainwater Harvesting, in March of 2010. The legislation was incorporated into UT Code (73-3-1.5) but the kicker is that a) you are limited to either a 2500 gallon underground or two 100 gallon above ground containers and b) you have to REGISTER with the State Engineer via a website (, which still shows that the gov’t, not you, owns the water. I happen to have a water right that came with my rural property, so I don’t think I have to register but I’m still finding out that information.

  12. So if these states are claiming that rainwater belongs to them and that they own it, then next time it rains and you have any kind of water damage to your home or personal belongings sue the state. YOUR rainwater, trespassed onto MY property and caused damage to my property, ie. flooding in my basement, erosion to my land, etc. Hit them where it hurts, their wallets.

  13. Very good comments-reminds me of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” where one stupid rule just led to another-let’s be smarter than that!

  14. Average cost to hold an inmate in jail per day in Oregon is $62.24 x 30 days is $1867.20. don’t forget court cost. lawyers fee’s, wage’s lost during trial and jail time.

  15. wow really what the hell i love where i live but come on the u.s is going to hell in a hand basket i live in California and shit here is crazy so i can guess it is worse or just as bad other places . i still cant believe it rainwater….lol smh

  16. dear rain owner I like to know where do I send you the bill of my new roof your rain damged it and I”ll like you to pay for it .

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