Once you have collected the rainwater there are no limitations on its use. If and when the department determines that rooftop or guzzler rainwater harvesting systems are likely to negatively affect instream values or existing water rights, local restrictions may be set in place to govern subsequent new systems (there are currently no restrictions). However, Ecology generally does not expect the collection of harvested rainwater to cause problems or reduce the amount of runoff that would have occurred from the site in its natural, pre-development state.
Richard Johns wrote:
My property has no running stream so the idea that what falls on my property is mine to use, or hold, makes sense to me. However, I'm sure this argument is as old as the hills. Do the laws allow for terracing of the land to slow the runoff and increase the absorbed water?
John Polk wrote:Water rights laws in most western states are very strict, to protect the availability of everybody getting sufficient water.
What this man did was so grossly defiant of those laws that the state had no choice but to punish him.
I have read that he went as far as to build boat docks on ponds that he was denied permission to create. He had originally built them without permission, and was caught and fined. He was forced to take down his dams. Years later, he went back and rebuilt the dams. These dams are not collecting rain water...they are blocking tributaries to a local river. His greedy defiance earned him the jail time.
A very short period of time following the expiration of his probation, he once again closed the gates and re-filled the reservoirs. So, this has been going on for some time and I think frankly the court felt that Mr. Harrington was not getting the message and decided that they’d already given him probation once and required him to open the gates and he refilled his reservoirs and it was business as usual for him, so I think the court wanted — it felt it needed — to give a stiffer penalty to get Mr. Harrington’s attention.
Jami McBride wrote:
I haven't found the original article, but doing another quick search provided this info which is similar to what I read, although this article is bent more toward anti-government than my first read - http://www.naturalnews.com/036615_Oregon_rainwater_permaculture.html
It's from a natural news web site. I also saw articles that took a different spin and completely leave out that he did have permits in the beginning, rant about the size of his ponds, etc. So the way the story gets told seems to have a lot to do with one's take away of what happened.
John Polk wrote:The state (OR) never claimed they owned the water. By law, the water in most western states belongs to the public.
It is the state's responsibility to assure that the water is fairly appropriated to 'the public' for useful purposes.
Private fishing lakes would be low on their priority list. His ponds were illegally stocked with fish (that he claimed he bought in a pet store!).