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Sun May 18, 2014, 08:55 AM

Who needs 13 million gallons of water in private reservoirs?

http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2012/08/16/man-jailed-for-collecting-rainwater-in-illegal-reservoirs-on-his-property/
<snip>
An Eagle Point, Ore., man has begun serving a 30-day jail sentence after he built three reservoirs on his property to collect rainwater -- an apparent violation of a state law that says all water is publicly owned.

Gary Harrington has collected nearly 13 million gallons of water in his reservoirs (one of which is pictured below). That's enough to fill 20 Olympic-size swimming pools. But two weeks ago, he was found guilty of breaking the 1925 Oregon law against private water collection. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and issued a $1,500 fine.

Oregon's Water Resources Department said that though it is legal to set up rainwater collection barrels on roofs or other artificial surfaces, Harrington's reservoirs go way beyond that and required permits.

"Mr. Harrington has operated these three reservoirs in flagrant violation of Oregon law for more than a decade," the department's deputy director, Tom Paul, told the Medford Mail Tribune.
----------------------
Good for Oregon

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Arrow 53 replies Author Time Post
Reply Who needs 13 million gallons of water in private reservoirs? (Original post)
malaise May 2014 OP
Major Nikon May 2014 #1
JayhawkSD May 2014 #14
Major Nikon May 2014 #16
JayhawkSD May 2014 #47
hobbit709 May 2014 #2
hughee99 May 2014 #23
hobbit709 May 2014 #25
hughee99 May 2014 #41
Cirque du So-What May 2014 #29
Jenoch May 2014 #45
struggle4progress May 2014 #38
SidDithers May 2014 #3
malaise May 2014 #4
freshwest May 2014 #51
Logical May 2014 #5
malaise May 2014 #7
Major Nikon May 2014 #20
randome May 2014 #21
Major Nikon May 2014 #22
randome May 2014 #34
struggle4progress May 2014 #24
Logical May 2014 #30
Generic Other May 2014 #6
Logical May 2014 #9
FBaggins May 2014 #52
MohRokTah May 2014 #10
Erich Bloodaxe BSN May 2014 #12
Leme May 2014 #15
Erich Bloodaxe BSN May 2014 #17
Wounded Bear May 2014 #31
struggle4progress May 2014 #35
Generic Other May 2014 #18
WinkyDink May 2014 #28
Ilsa May 2014 #42
Generic Other May 2014 #44
randome May 2014 #11
Erich Bloodaxe BSN May 2014 #13
struggle4progress May 2014 #37
Maedhros May 2014 #40
Recursion May 2014 #50
WhiteTara May 2014 #43
MohRokTah May 2014 #8
struggle4progress May 2014 #19
Orrex May 2014 #27
struggle4progress May 2014 #33
Shankapotomus May 2014 #26
AngryAmish May 2014 #32
Go Vols May 2014 #36
struggle4progress May 2014 #39
Recursion May 2014 #49
Nye Bevan May 2014 #46
randome May 2014 #53
Recursion May 2014 #48

Response to malaise (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 08:59 AM

1. The problem is they don't have the same policy when it comes to other natural resources

Like oil, natural gas, and minerals. I agree that all natural resources should be publicly owned. I just don't make exceptions for all the others.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #1)

Sun May 18, 2014, 10:42 AM

14. Actually, they do.

 

Note they they said he was doing it "without a permit," Permits are also required to harvest all other natural resources, such as oil and gas, and companies which harvest those resources get the required permits in order to do so. If they do not, they are subject to fines and jail time.

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Response to JayhawkSD (Reply #14)

Sun May 18, 2014, 10:59 AM

16. This is only in regards to the manner of collection

Rainwater is assumed to belong to the public. Other resources are assumed to be owned by whomever owns the rights to that resource with the public retaining no ownership rights whatsoever with anything other than what is on or below public lands.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #16)

Mon May 19, 2014, 01:40 AM

47. Good point.

 

I believe rainwater usually is public property only when it falls on public property. Probably varies from state to state.

I think part of the issue with his collection of rainwater was that he was collecting rainwater that fell on property other than his own, and then flowed onto his land. The guy was, in effect, taking natural resources from public property without a permit.

In some states you are required to "accept" water which flows onto your land from outside your property, that is you may not prevent it from doing so, but you cannot keep or store the water. You can, however, "make use of it" as it passes through. for instance by allowing cattle to drink from the stream. I know that was the case in New Mexico when I lived there many years ago.


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Response to malaise (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 08:59 AM

2. Anti-government greedy asshole who is willing to deprive his downstream neighbors

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Response to hobbit709 (Reply #2)

Sun May 18, 2014, 11:49 AM

23. I didn't see anything in the article about neighbors downstreams not having enough water. n/t

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Response to hughee99 (Reply #23)

Sun May 18, 2014, 11:51 AM

25. Damn up a runoff, what do you think happens.

There will be less water moving downstream.

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Response to hobbit709 (Reply #25)

Sun May 18, 2014, 03:03 PM

41. "Less water" isn't the same as "not enough" water.

If you live in an area with a lot of water, even a few million gallons won't be missed.

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Response to hughee99 (Reply #23)

Sun May 18, 2014, 12:07 PM

29. If his homemade dams break

his downstream neighbors could well have too much water. On a larger scale, the original Johnstown (PA) flood is a result of rich fuckers doing what the hell they pleased, creating a lake - using substandard materials, including deadwood and manure, in constructing the dam - for the private use of gilded-age fat cats.

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Response to Cirque du So-What (Reply #29)

Sun May 18, 2014, 11:33 PM

45. What 'homemade dams'?

 

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Response to hughee99 (Reply #23)

Sun May 18, 2014, 12:55 PM

38. Prosecuted, pleaded guilty, fined, kept collecting water.

Prosecuted a second time, pleaded guilty, put on probation, stopped collecting water while on probation, then resumed as soon as probation ended

Prosecuted a third time, went to trial, found guilty by local jury, fined and jailed with an order to drain the reservoirs and breach the dams

Maybe the nearby city of Medford is serious about protecting its rights to its water supply?

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Response to malaise (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 09:02 AM

3. Previous DU threads...

make for interesting reading.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021101470
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022465816



And I agree, good for Oregon.

Sid

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #3)

Sun May 18, 2014, 09:05 AM

4. Interesting

I'm all for having a reservoir for self use but this is ridiculous

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Response to malaise (Reply #4)

Mon May 19, 2014, 04:08 AM

51. Greedy, isn't he? He was denying everyone down stream or disturbing the water table. OTT.

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Response to malaise (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 09:11 AM

5. Every farmer I know in Missouri has built ponds on their land. Is it the....

 

size that is the issue?

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Response to Logical (Reply #5)

Sun May 18, 2014, 09:15 AM

7. Precisely n/t

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Response to Logical (Reply #5)

Sun May 18, 2014, 11:39 AM

20. It's the lack of a permit that's the issue

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #20)

Sun May 18, 2014, 11:43 AM

21. He did have a permit but it was revoked when he prevented water from reaching tributaries.

 

See s4p's post below. This was never a 'government over-reach' issue, as some are all-to-ready to proclaim.
[hr][font color="blue"][center]Where do uncaptured mouse clicks go?[/center][/font][hr]

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Response to randome (Reply #21)

Sun May 18, 2014, 11:46 AM

22. I read it

If he doesn't have a permit for whatever reason, then the lack of a permit is the issue.

Oregon is not going to let you have more water than what you have a legitimate need and perhaps not even then if it impacts people downstream of you. I wouldn't expect the government to do anything less.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #22)

Sun May 18, 2014, 12:25 PM

34. Agreed.

 

[hr][font color="blue"][center]"The whole world is a circus if you know how to look at it."
Tony Randall, 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964)
[/center][/font][hr]

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Response to Logical (Reply #5)

Sun May 18, 2014, 11:49 AM

24. He dammed tributaries to a river

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #24)

Sun May 18, 2014, 12:08 PM

30. OK, thanks, that makes sense now. nt

 

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Response to malaise (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 09:13 AM

6. Harvesting rainwater should not be a crime

We get lots of it. Kinda wasteful that one can't collect it without running afoul of authorities. Especially since the real issue is low stream flow impacting hatchery fish.

The water he collects falls on his property and slowly filters down to the water table anyway. I could see them objecting to him diverting streams or rivers, but this is ridiculous over reach by government in my opinion.

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Response to Generic Other (Reply #6)

Sun May 18, 2014, 09:24 AM

9. Well, I think the size is an issue. Farmers have ponds. Not huge reservoirs. nt

 

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Response to Logical (Reply #9)

Mon May 19, 2014, 07:06 AM

52. How much is a "pond"

This would be about 40 acre-feet. Far closer to a pond than a "huge reservoir"

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Response to Generic Other (Reply #6)

Sun May 18, 2014, 09:24 AM

10. Water is a part of the public commons. He does not own that water, so he's a thief.

 

He's stealing the water.

And all he had to do if he really really thought he needed tht water was to go through the permit process. If he had a legitimate reason to do this, he would have been granted a permit.

30 days in jail is a just sentence.

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Response to MohRokTah (Reply #10)

Sun May 18, 2014, 09:46 AM

12. He did go through the permit process.

If you read the story, he was even granted the permits, then for reasons unstated, the state later changed its mind, and revoked them.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #12)

Sun May 18, 2014, 10:43 AM

15. Times change

 

perhaps in a wetter environment such tanks would not be against regulations, and not in conflict with general public interests. Many land use projects are approved, later found to be detrimental. Some permits get revoked, just how things are. Bad permits, poor decisions, are what commissions and regulatory bodies do at some times. A couple more BP oil spills and I doubt they would be allowed to drill in Gulf.

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Response to Leme (Reply #15)

Sun May 18, 2014, 11:17 AM

17. Certainly.

Although when I look up Eagle Point, Oregon on google maps, it's in an area that certainly shouldn't be hurting for precipitation. If anything, it's an area in which I'd expect to be getting even wetter with climate change, not drier. It's also really close to the California border, suggesting that most of his downstream neighbours won't even be in Oregon.

And based on the photos, his 'reservoirs' look more like man-made lakes, not tanks. I assume what makes them 'reservoirs' is that he probably laid down concrete under them.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #17)

Sun May 18, 2014, 12:08 PM

31. Reservoir is a generic term...

It applies to all lakes behind man-made dams, like Lake Mead, etc.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #12)

Sun May 18, 2014, 12:29 PM

35. Harrington Conviction and Sentence for 11 Years of Illegal Water Use

On Wednesday July 11, 2012, a Jackson County Circuit Court Jury convicted Eagle Point resident Gary A. Harrington on nine counts, each related to the unauthorized use of water ... Harrington stored and used water illegally by placing dams across channels on his property and preventing the flow of water out of these artificial reservoirs without obtaining a water right permit ... The state first identified Harrington’s illegal water use more than ten years ago and initiated enforcement action to discontinue his illegal use of water ... Harrington pleaded guilty to several violations. He was assessed a nominal fine and ordered to drain the three reservoirs, which he did. However, Harrington again closed the headgates in 2004 and refilled the reservoirs. As a result .. the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office ... filed misdemeanor charges against Harrington, and in 2008 he pled guilty to one count. He was issued another fine, placed on one year probation, and was again ordered to drain the reservoirs. According to testimony in the most recent trial, the day after Harrington’s probation expired, he again closed the outlet valves and refilled the reservoirs ... On Wednesday the Court sentenced Mr. Harrington to 30 days in jail and three years’ probation, and imposed a $1,500 fine. Judge Timothy Gerking also ordered that the headgates holding back the water be opened and kept open with locks and chains. He also ordered the dams to be breached after the water is drained ...

http://www.kval.com/news/Eagle-Point-man-jailed-for-illegal-water-reservoirs-164206356.html


So he's already pleaded guilty twice before in prosecutions on this matter

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Response to MohRokTah (Reply #10)

Sun May 18, 2014, 11:25 AM

18. Didn't the Bushes buy water rights in South America?

And damn, if it falls on my property, you do not need to be getting all possessive about owning it.

Average rainfall: 122 inches per year.

So if the state thinks he is stealing the rain, let them figure out a way to keep it from trespassing on his property.

This is about the Federal government wanting to restrict farmers and ranchers' water use by diverting water to the endangered "suckerfish." They are dismantling damns, keeping their own reservoirs filled, and going after the ranchers' water by turning off pumps, wells, etc.

This is an issue of major importance in the PNW.

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Response to Generic Other (Reply #18)

Sun May 18, 2014, 12:03 PM

28. South isn't North.

 

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Response to Generic Other (Reply #18)

Sun May 18, 2014, 03:08 PM

42. He was damming tributaries. And yes, size matters. nt

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Response to Ilsa (Reply #42)

Sun May 18, 2014, 11:09 PM

44. Damming tributaries is another matter

Saving rainwater is what the article said.

Water rights have always been an issue for farms and ranches in the West.

I was just mad that they act like they own the rain that falls on my land and could come after me for collecting it.

Go collect real payments from corporations that steal mineral and oil rights for a song and dance.

And don't take a rancher's water and sell it to Coca Cola or some other water bottling company.

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Response to Generic Other (Reply #6)

Sun May 18, 2014, 09:26 AM

11. It's not going to filter down if he collects it.

 

At least for not a good long time, I would imagine.

It isn't a 'ridiculous over-reach by the government' if he is depriving his neighbors of water because he wants to hoard it for his own use.
[hr][font color="blue"][center]Precision and concision. That's the game.[/center][/font][hr]

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Response to randome (Reply #11)

Sun May 18, 2014, 09:48 AM

13. Nothing in the story suggests that his neighbours feel deprived.

The neighbour's feelings are left unaddressed. It also even states that he was originally granted the permits to build the reservoirs, but that the permits were later revoked for reasons unstated.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #13)

Sun May 18, 2014, 12:33 PM

37. Under old law, the water rights belong to the city of Medford, which went to court some time ago

to protect those rights against Gary Harrington's acts

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Response to Generic Other (Reply #6)

Sun May 18, 2014, 01:44 PM

40. By capturing and storing 13 million gallons of rain water,

 

the rancher is depriving others of rain water.

Range wars were fought over this kind of thing in the 19th century.

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Response to Maedhros (Reply #40)

Mon May 19, 2014, 04:08 AM

50. Jake Gittes nearly lost his nose

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Response to Generic Other (Reply #6)

Sun May 18, 2014, 06:48 PM

43. it's not illegal to set up systems on your roof

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Response to malaise (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 09:22 AM

8. The guy sounds like a Libertarian extreme prepper to me. eom

 

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Response to malaise (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 11:25 AM

19. Story's two years old. Here's a different take:

Gary Harrington of Eagle Point, Oregon, was arrested for impounding water behind dams into three massive reservoirs or ponds on his 170-acre property. It is reported that two of the dams are 10 feet tall while the other is 20 feet tall. The State of Oregon has declared that the three reservoirs are illegal since they dam tributaries that flow into the Big Butte River.

The State of Oregon convicted Mr. Harrington under a 1925 law that declared all water as public or “state” water. This is due to the prior appropriations law that creates priority water rights. This means the first person to obtain a water right on a stream is the last to be shut off in times of low stream flows. This prevents landowners from damming up the streams and rivers that cross their properties if there are downstream users such as cities and other water providers that have older water rights.

In 2007, Mr. Harrington entered a guilty plea for illegally damming water from the tributaries crossing his property. He received three years probation and was ordered to release the impounded water. This recent lawsuit filed by the State stems from his refusal to meet the conditions of his probation ...

http://www.watercache.com/blog/2012/09/rainwater-collection-leads-to-jail-sentence-how-news-headlines-get-it-wrong/

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #19)

Sun May 18, 2014, 11:58 AM

27. Big Butte.

Heh heh.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #27)

Sun May 18, 2014, 12:13 PM

33. Perhaps you meant Big Southern Butte?

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Response to malaise (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 11:55 AM

26. Water Hoarders

The next reality tv show.

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Response to malaise (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 12:11 PM

32. trout do not like dammed rivers

 

But a lot of golf courses hooked up to municipal systems have very deep ponds to collect rainwater and save a few bucks.

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Response to malaise (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 12:30 PM

36. I can't see any creeks/rivers that he is blocking.

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Response to Go Vols (Reply #36)

Sun May 18, 2014, 01:20 PM

39. He agreed twice he was breaking the law by pleading guilty; and in the third prosecution

a local jury found him guilty

So the actual facts -- whatever they may be -- appear to have been resolved repeatedly in court against Gary Harrington

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Response to Go Vols (Reply #36)

Mon May 19, 2014, 04:06 AM

49. He's diverting water from the littorals by capturing it

He's basically (slowly) drying out wetlands.

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Response to malaise (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 11:44 PM

46. The evidence appears to be damning. Or is that damming? (nt)

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #46)

Mon May 19, 2014, 07:43 AM

53. Don't rain on this parade.

 

[hr][font color="blue"][center]Stop looking for heroes. BE one.[/center][/font][hr]

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Response to malaise (Original post)

Mon May 19, 2014, 04:05 AM

48. The desiccated rich?



This case goes all over the place and seems to make both the left and right uncomfortable...

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