Articles & News - Rainwater Ownership

Is the water falling from the sky owned by anyone? Nine or more states believe that it's owned by them, not the residents. Some states on that list include Utah, Colorado, and Oregon. "But what about helping the environment not waste water?" That's not what it's about. As a resident, you do not have a "water right" or license to re-use that water whether for watering your own plants or filtering yourself for consumption. In fact, a few days ago, Gary Harrington of Oregon was sent to jail for 30 days and fined $1,500 for keeping rainwater in his own reservoirs. The water apparently belonged to the Medford Water Commission. He's actually been charged with 9 misdemeanors for the same "crime," keeping rainwater and snow runoff for what he says is fire protection. Here's the kicker - the law's been around since 1925 and rather than revisiting this law, Jackson County Water Master Larry Menteer says, "Water law is water law, whether you agree with it or not."

Reader questions: Did you know that states took ownership of rainwater? How would you feel if you were not allowed to store water? Is the state of Oregon in the right here or Gary Harrington? Who do you believe the water belongs to?

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