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. Someone should just take these morons to court and ask the Judge: “Judge, do you own a deck… Do you have chairs on that deck… When it rains does water collect in the seat of that chair… Oh, we’ll then Judge you are breaking the law of collecting rainwater that is not yours and you do not have permission to own that water. You should be thrown in jail for a month or two to serve as an example to others, and fined a couple thousand dollars for illegal water collection! Oh wait there’s more, that doesn’t even cover the bonus fines for the water collected in your pool. Then do you knowingly swim in that pool that contains government water… FOR FREE?

  2. They want money. Money is what it amounts to. We had city water in the house in a town in Florida. Well water in the back yard. Minimum charge for city water and sewage was $50 a month. So to save money I began filling the washing machine with well water with a hose, and also would occasionally use the well water to flush the toilets. After a few months of just being billed the $50 minimum the town threatened to condemn my well. Its all about money and what they think they own.

  3. If this is the case, it should be mandatory that the government be held responsible for any rain damage on your property. Make it mandatory that they, the government limit the amount of rainfall allowed on our property during the rainy season. They should be held financially liable if accumulation is over 3″ during any one rain storm.
    This sounds just about as stupid as the government owning the rain.

  4. The legal question over rainwater generally depends on how the State Common law defines water rights as Riparian water rights or Prior appropriation water rights. Riparian rights are given by direct contact with a river or stream. Appropriative is a system of distribution which has no association with direct contact with a river or stream but is based on best use.

    Rainwater that would fall on your ground in Reparian States would say the water is yours. In Appropriative states, the water that falls down belongs to the Appropriative distribution NOT the individual on the land. Thus rainwater collection is looked at as interfering with the Appropriative rights of others who have a right to that water’s absorption into the aquifer. Colorado is an Appropriative State.

    That said, local Nazi Gov will still mess with you if you live in a Reparian state by claiming that collection of rainwater will cause mosquito breeding. Gov need only provide any mindless “rational” purpose to stick their Nazi flag on your property. You vote these socialist into office so you get what you deserve.

    Reparian water rights allows hoarding and Appropriative attempts to prevent hoarding. Thus where water is scarce west of the Mississippi, Appropriative rights exist and east of the Mississippi Reparian is more popular. Reparian is Capitalism and Appropriative is Socialism. Personally I prefer Piratism and do what I want but of course I’m an anarchist and all you nice people probably wouldn’t like my methods of obtaining water for my garden.The Wild West was full of water wars. I prefer the Wild West System.

  5. People WAKE UP!!! Government, you can call them that I don’t. They are not there for you or for our country. They have proven that time and time again. It does not matter who you vote for it will be the same ending. Water rights is just one of thousands of issues that are way out of control. The only thing that matters is how take more of the 1% they so generously let us work our assets off for. Everyday they pay millions of our money to lawyers who spend all their time trying to find ways to get more of the 1%.The so call supreme court decided to let anyone with unlimited supplies of money to decide what happens to our laws,eviremental regulations, what drugs are legal or not. They can even destroy our ground water with flacking.Demecrats, Republicans are all after the same thing.Yes they disagree on things to make you really think theyre in it for us. It is just to side track us away from the things that really matter.Such as why in the last 30years they haven been using the Constitution for toilet paper They decide who runs for president not us. our rights disappear more and more every day. MONEY is all they care about howy of our rights have they taken and nobody does anything its a joke who you gonna votefor da da da it don’t matter wake up

  6. This is outrageous!!! What is the world coming to? The rain isn’t owned by anyone and it should be useable to anyone who wants it. How crazy is the government and how crazy are people for allowing this to take place???

  7. Hqueso
    I love how you think! Sue me for collecting rainwater?! How about a countersue for letting your rainwater fall on my property, into my reservoirs!

  8. If the govt. considers rain water harvesting belonging to them then they should be responsible for any flooding or rain water damage to your house;I would sue the govt. , in these states for rain water damage…that should cool their heels, also it’s probably unconstitutional.
    Personally I would take all the politicians who started this and the Judges who allowed such garbage to be passed be sent to the Pillories and put in stocks so that the people could throw rotten eggs at them and then douse them in harvested rain water so they come to their senses.

  9. Recently I’ve been hearing about the California drought situation, which has been a problem for a while, I guess, and that there are some who have water reserves collected that they’ve been selling off to help combat the problem. Cool. I’m a native resident of Washington State-the western part, which is to say the really, really wet part of Washington-it rains A LOT here. I’m not sure what the figures would be, but if the rainfall that collects into our raingutters was to be diverted into collection areas specifically to combat these drought situations, that seems to make sense to me. I’m not sure where the private sector ends and the state government kicks in with regards to maintaining and regulating such an operation, but I doubt such an operation would have any impact on the natural balance, in other words, our rivers would flow just as high as they ever do..
    In the end, it’s all about the water. Most al cities and towns in this country are where they are because of where the water was. Hear, most of the time, it’s in abundance, we shouldn’t continue to wast it..

  10. Several folk have said the problem could be solved by voting differently. I wonder if it really would, as it’s the bureaucracy – the little, self-important employed officials who pursue those who break often old, obscure laws. No matter which political party is voted in, those bureaucrats remain. It’s a matter of every member of the public standing together for their natural rights, keeping tabs on what is happening in the chambers of power, being prepared to say “no way” strongly even when it causes personal discomfort or inconvenience, and hassling and continuing to hassle politicians until they change unjust laws.

  11. If we dont get rid of this illuminati,satanist,cabal government like Iceland did we are in big big trouble. IT goes this way , by the people for the people from the people, We created the goverment they did not creat us . And we have unalienable rights given by God that no one can take away. God made the earth for us to use freely and that is what we should be doing … GO UBUNTU. Wake up sheeple ……….

  12. if the water that falls is owned by the state, is the same water that falls and damages property owned by the state and if it is should they opay for the damage? I think so!

  13. When you vote Democrat this is what you get. Everybody on welfare, government controlling everything about your life. You can’t even collect Rainwater. It will get worse mark my words. When you have big government you will lose your freedoms but most people don’t pay enough attention to even understand what I am saying. This democrat party is not normal. It’s run by liberals who want to make america socialist/communist. Your president is a MUSLIM and has vowed on TV that he will never go to war with Islam. His allegiance is to the Koran and Islam but people don’t understand this.

  14. Hqueso says: “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?” This may sound crazy, but no more so than gov saying one is stealing their water when one collects it from the sky. This would be an excellent way to use their own words against them. What if their water damages your property, aren’t they are responsible? These laws exist because someone is claiming the water falling on one’s property is theirs and therefore you are stealing it. Logic would say it should cut both ways. Interesting legal theories.

  15. I Cant Beleave people that don’t stand up for your right. this shit is going too
    far with the federal govermment. Please lets not be quit on this subject. Enough
    Is Enough

  16. I Cant Beleave people that don’t stand up for your right. this shit is going too
    far with the federal govermment. Please lets not be quit on this subject. Enough
    Is Enough. This is BullShit Let me Post

    • @Chris, this has nothing to do with the federal gov’t, it’s local gov’t’s if it’s true–probably not true tho

  17. The man who was sentenced to 30 days was convicted on a 1925 law! This is nothing modern day. The local government had issued permits and then retracted them. There is something fishy here and they aren’t in his reservoir.

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