If The State Really Owns The Water Are They Responsible For It? [OPINION]
This past Wednesday Gary Harrington turned himself into Medford, Oregon authorities to begin a 30 day jail sentence for collecting rainwater and snow runoff on his property. I was beyond shocked to discover the state of Oregon has a law that says you cannot divert water from streams running into the Big Butte River without a permit.
Harrington did apply for a permit but was turned down. As an act of civil disobedience he built three illegal reservoirs on his property to collect rainwater. In doing so he broke a 1925 law and was convicted of nine misdemeanors and sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined $1500. Harrington said he was not diverting the state's water but merely collecting water that falls or flows on his property.
I think the State of Oregon might want to consider modifying or repealing that 1925 water law. Think about it this way; State of Oregon, you say you own water falling from the sky correct? Yes, that is correct. In that case I should not have to buy flood insurance because you will pay for the damage caused by your flooding waters, is that correct also? Get my drift here? The state wants to own the water to charge you for using it but I bet they will never pay you for damages caused by it's resource.
It's not like Mr. Harrington was building the Hoover Dam. He built three reservoirs on his property to catch rainwater and snow for the consumption of his family. Harrington has said,
"I'm sacrificing my liberty so we can stand up as a country and stand for our liberty."
I say 'bravo' Mr. Harrington but add a wish for good luck because I have a feeling you will need it.
It does make you wonder if the State of Oregon owns the water, can you send the water back to them by flushing vigorously?