Oregon’s Criminalization of Rainwater Collection

Discussion in 'Preparedness' started by Harper, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. Harper

    Harper Guide

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  2. Bitterroot Native

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    So ridiculous. I live in the county this is going down in. I don't own property (would never buy land here) but it's still a bummer to know that collecting water is illegal! I wonder if this would apply to small rainwater catchment systems on homes as well.

    Can't wait to move.
     
  3. Mtnfolk Mike

    Mtnfolk Mike Supporter Supporter

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    WOW !! That's just rediculous..
     
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  4. saxdm9

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    The authorities are going to apprehend someone doing small rainwater catchment how? I can see them disapproving building plans for built systems. And in busy urban areas or if someone is building a permitted job next door. But at my private property, built in private spot? Don't think so.
     
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  5. jack

    jack Tracker

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    Ridiculous isn't even the word for it, this sickens me to a new levels.
     
  6. Backyard

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    I'm I missing something? I know Seattle is wet, are parts of the state dry?
     
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  7. Verkstad

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    Sucks !
    Much like other parts of the legal system...

    All water belongs to the State.
    Without a State granted right to the water, it belongs to whoever has the right to it.
    Never mind if it comes into contact with ones property. Even with a water right, there is normally restrictions, (sometime insanely severe) regulating what can be used for & how much.

    Where I live, collecting rainfall illegal too. But thank goodness my County politely said "f-off" to the State and encourages rainwater retention.
     
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  8. rattleweed

    rattleweed Scout

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    This is also becoming a big deal in Texas.
     
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  9. WY_Not

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    So... everyone affected should start sending them the bill for any and all water damage caused by the State's water falling on their homes and property. If they want to claim ownership of it then let them keep it under control.
     
  10. lodge camper

    lodge camper Scout

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    not long before you'll have to pay a toll to take a leak.
     
  11. saxdm9

    saxdm9 Tracker

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    MUch of Oregon is very dry. Eastern section like eastern Washington - not the evergreen part of Washington for sure.
     
  12. justin_baker

    justin_baker Supporter Supporter

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    Natural news is not exactly a reliable news source. If you read the article, the owner of the property was building ponds on his property. Possibly diverting streams into the pond?? Not the same thing as catching rainwater in barrels.
    According to this article rain water collection is not illegal in Oregon.
    Is It Really Illegal To Collect Rain Water In Oregon?
     
  13. Roamer

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    ^^^^THIS is a vital point. Water is a public resource, and these people were appropriating it to run a business (grow marijuana) without any permits or payment. Yeah, apparently the pond was already there. But it had never been noticed by regulators, which is not uncommon.

    These issues are complicated. But if somebody is illegally taking water to grow ganja, that means the water isn't available as habitat for fish that somebody else might want to catch downstream.

    There's also a big difference between capturing rainwater off your roof (generally legal everywhere) and damming a waterway to create a pond.
     
  14. Harper

    Harper Guide

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    Naw...

    You'll be required to recycle it!
     
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  15. Bitterroot Native

    Bitterroot Native Guide

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    Jackson county is the hottest place in Oregon, certainly one of the dryest places west of the cascades.
     
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  16. jack

    jack Tracker

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    You're right. At first I thought this was an all encompassing regulation on collection of water
     
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  17. Harper

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    I don't know that I agree with you about Natural News. It, at least, is independent. Based on the past year alone, we know that Main Stream Media (MSM) manufactures fake news. They are now paying the price for it. Personally, I don't consider them reliable sources either. They are owned by six corporations who appear to want to create the news rather than report it.

    As I read it, the pond was there for 40 years . It was an existing condition. There should have been some kind of grandfather clause.

    I guess that I'm one of those people who believe that rain falling from the sky into a long established pond on one's own private property doesn't belong the state.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2017
  18. Subdood

    Subdood Ex-bubblehead Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    I have no dog in the race, but if it falls on the property I live on from the sky that God created, I consider it mine steward. If I do so poorly, I have every expectation I will answer for it.
     
  19. Roamer

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    I really would like to respond to this because, well, I think you have this backward. But it would take us way off-topic. So I'll limit my comments to this: naturalnews.com is "independent" in the sense that it seems to be run by one guy. That doesn't make it reliable or accurate.
     
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  20. insidious

    insidious Scout

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    So...

    If it rains so hard it floods and destroys property then you can sue the water authority for destruction of property and financial losses due to their lack of controlling the resource.

    Got it :)
     
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  21. WY_Not

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    If they want to claim ownership then they should also be held responsible for damages caused by THEIR property. ;)

    Personally, I wouldn't limit it to just short term damage like floods and such. Send them the bill for long term issues such as rot, erosion, etc. :D
     
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  22. Roamer

    Roamer Supporter Supporter

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    The problem with a pond is that it doesn't just catch rain that falls from the sky overhead. It also catches everything that flows into it from upstream -- often a large watershed on other people's property, including public land -- and prevents that water from moving downstream.
     
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  23. WY_Not

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    It wouldn't stop it just delays it. If there is 1000g per hour flowing in from a stream then that water has got to go somewhere. It can only rise so high before it starts flowing over the damn at basically the same rate. Some of it might be lost as it soaks into the soil and returns to the aquifer and some might be returned to the atmosphere through evaporation, but if the water is flowing it has got to go somewhere.
     
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  24. Verkstad

    Verkstad Tracker

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    Somewhat a fallacy, a reservoir will eventually fill & overflow, water is just detained, eventually gets downhill to the next user.

    Of course during time of low flows, an impoundment may hold & evaporate or infiltrate all the water what otherwise would continue running downhill along the surface.

    There is no "one size fits all" way to fairly regulate naturally occuring water.
     
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  25. teotwaki

    teotwaki Scout

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    Travel east of the Cascades; Yakima Valley and the Columbia River Plateau
     
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  26. sledjockey

    sledjockey Skookum's Bro Supporter Bushclass I

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    And crap like this is why the wife and I are moving AWAY from the idiotic laws of OR and WA as soon as we can.
     
  27. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Supporter Supporter

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    I can't help but think that if I owned property with a stream, creek, whatever running through it which I use for water, irrigation, fishing, etc and my neighbor decides to dam it upstream on their property to reap the sole benefits, then I'd probably be a little pissed. I imagine most would in that situation.

    If I chose to dam said stream, then I would expect my downstream neighbor to not be so pleased either.

    Some folks shoot beavers for doing just that...

    Edit: now that I can actually open the link (wasn't working before for some reason), it seem ambiguous as to what created the ponds (spring fed vs. surface water). So without that info, I have to lean towards towards the side of the <new> owners. Especially since it wasn't them that built the ponds, however it was accomplished. Definitely seems the local govt for that area is overreaching.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2017
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  28. Verkstad

    Verkstad Tracker

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    Move to California.
    What few laws there are, its a perfect utopia of intellegent fair & just law.
     
  29. ozarkhunter

    ozarkhunter Hobbyist Hobbyist

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    I see what you did there...
     
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  30. captbrian

    captbrian Bush League Urbanite

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    It is Utopia man! And we don't even need rainwater in California. We have Brawndo.
     
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  31. Polecat

    Polecat Polecat in a Poke

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    Revolt. Sounds like it's time there.
     
  32. 3Rotts

    3Rotts Supporter Supporter

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    Nothing new. My sister lived in MD and had to pay a tax for collecting rain water. I forget exactly how it worked but it was based off the square footage of the roof and how much rain fall for the year and then she would get a tax bill or something like that.
     
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  33. russw25

    russw25 Scout

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    I call bullshit! just plain bullshit!
     
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  34. steelheadr

    steelheadr Tracker

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    But don't let the facts get in the way of a one-sided rant...
     
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  35. Skotelawe

    Skotelawe Guide

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    To put it more bluntly than others have been willing to voice...Natural News is a wack job conspiracy site run by a snake oil salesman.

    A few minutes fact checking quickly disproves the primary claim of the linked story.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2017
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  36. Harper

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    So, these people don't exist? These events didn't take place? The two linked sources--including the local paper-- are somehow in on it? The Water Commission meeting didn't take place? Somebody just decided to make all this stuff up?
     
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  37. Brook Trout

    Brook Trout Scout

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    Just my two cents, but collecting rainwater that falls on your roof is a whole lot different than diverting flowing water that happens to run through your property (regardless of whether the flow is year round or intermittent/seasonal).
     
  38. clueless on the delaware

    clueless on the delaware Tracker

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    fake news, real news, Commie west coast, hippies vs nazis, who the hell knows? Move to Pennsylvania, where we've cherry picked all the best of what both Dems and Repubs want to do! we got plenty a' woods upstate!
     
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  39. clueless on the delaware

    clueless on the delaware Tracker

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    on second thought, stay away! all for clueless!
     
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  40. Harper

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    The pond was built by a previous owner and has been there for 40 years--it's not like this couple was doing new construction and damming up a stream.
     
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  41. Brook Trout

    Brook Trout Scout

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    My apologies for not being more clear--my comment was more of a general observation concerning the variety of activities that seem to be getting lumped together under the heading of "rainwater collection" versus a comment regarding the specific case highlighted in the article. While I believe there is abundantly sufficient rationale for placing restrictions on landowners' ability to dam/divert flowing water (an implicitly shared resource), to be sure, I too would be upset to find that property I had purchased with an existing pond (especially one that has been in existence for 40 years) was now found to be in violation--not an easy, or clear-cut, situation by any means.
     
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  42. sledjockey

    sledjockey Skookum's Bro Supporter Bushclass I

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    I can't move to Kalifornia. I have common sense. It would never work.
     
  43. Bitterroot Native

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    I'm in the same boat! Can't wait to get out of Oregon. Shame the entire West Coast is turning into hipster country.
     
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  44. werewolf won

    werewolf won TANSTAAFL Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I saw something recently about laws on planting gardens and being off the electric grid. During the world wars victory gardens were all but mandatory, and enemies were concerned about invading us because everyone owned a gun. Today attempts to be self sufficient are looked at as criminal acts?

    Control the water, food, weapons and power...you could take over a nation without ever firing a shot.

    Very disturbing trend.
     
  45. teotwaki

    teotwaki Scout

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    We can all easily validate the real story in Oregon and then comment based on the facts. Note the text that I highlighted in the first paragraph. I do not agree with Oregon's law but it is really about building unpermitted dams and ponds and not "collecting rainwater"

    www.oregon.gov/owrd/docs/harrington_press_release.pdf

    Harrington Conviction and Sentence
    Judgment Addresses 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. Under Oregon law, all water is
    publicly owned, and those who wish to use it for their own purposes must obtain a water right permit issued
    by the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD). State law grants various exceptions to this requirement,
    including an exception for collecting precipitation water that gathers on an artificial impervious surface, such
    as a rooftop or parking lot; in rain barrels, for example.


    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
    height of each dam varies; two dams stand about ten feet tall and the third stands about 20 feet tall. The total
    amount of water collected behind these dams totals about 40 acre feet; enough to fill almost 20 Olympic‐sized
    swimming pools. These man‐made reservoirs feature boat docks, boats, and were stocked by Harrington with
    trout and Bluegill for recreational fishing.

    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. After numerous attempts by OWRD and the
    Watermaster to achieve voluntary compliance, the Department enlisted the assistance of the Oregon State
    Police in 2002. Citations were issued, and 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, OWRD and the Oregon State Police submitted
    reports to the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office alleging additional violations of Oregon water law.

    That office filed misdemeanor charges against Harrington, and in 2008 he plead 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. The District Attorney’s Office enlisted the help of the
    Oregon Department of Justice, charges were once again filed in Jackson County Circuit Court, and on July 11,
    2012, a jury found Harrington guilty of all nine counts.

    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.

    “Mr. Harrington has operated these three reservoirs in flagrant violation of Oregon law for more than
    a decade,” noted OWRD Deputy Director Tom Paul. “We rely on the judicial system to maintain the rule of law
    and the Court’s conviction and sentencing in this case has done just that.”
    Officials with the Department, in conjunction with the State Police, plan to visit the site during the
    next several days in order to confirm Harrington’s compliance with court orders.
     
  46. Crazysanman

    Crazysanman Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass II

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    Maryland has a flush tax. You pay a special tax on the "sewage" charges on your monthly water bill.
     
  47. Harper

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    While, the story does make reference to the Harrington case, the subject of this article is the current Carey situation.

    Here, a previous owner built a pond some 40 years ago. Now, the authorities are trying to hold the current owners (the Carey's) responsible for. They didn't build it.
    It's a different scenario.

    Let's remember that just because something is lawful doesn't make it right. For example, slavery was lawful--but it wasn't right.

    Bringing such laws to the attention of the public is one of the first steps in correcting things.
     
  48. teotwaki

    teotwaki Scout

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    This is not about "criminalization of rainwater collection" so the title and the "news" article are misleading.

    When someone takes ownership of property they inherit all of the problems and the Careys have a problem with their pond. The County Watermaster’s Office records show, the previous owners had not received a permit for the pond, so the Careys are in violation of Oregon regulations laws because they own the property. The regulations laws have been in place since 1925 1909.

    AGAIN, I do not agree with the regulations but this is not about "rainwater collection". It is about obtaining legal permits as specified by state law and similar instances have occurred time and again with respect to property easements, room additions to homes and so on. The Careys are in violation of the law just the same as Harrington no matter who built the illegal water collection system.

    The facts suck but they are about permits and not rainwater.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
  49. Brown85

    Brown85 Guide

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    I did just that 5 years ago, couldn't be happier! Where you at in Philly? I'm up 95 a bit in Bensalem.
     
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  50. Harper

    Harper Guide

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    I think that the Careys would disagree with you--and they're the ones on the frontline.

    Regulations are not the same as laws. They typically have the force of law because they are usually adpopted under statute. Most lawmakers initially adopt what the bureacrats author and then the things take on a life of their own--like a Frankenstein monster.

    You think that this is simply a permitting issue. I think that this a case of bureacratic overreach.

    We both agree the situation sucks. Lets leave it there on that common ground.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
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