|Oregon Claims This Water on Private Property Belongs to State|
CNS News reports the man has two weeks to report to jail to begin serving a 30 day jail term for possession three rain catchers--reservoirs--on his land. The state says Gary Harrington also also diverted river water to the reservoirs.
|Does This Water Belong to the State, too?|
“They’ve just gotten to be big bullies and if you just lay over and die and give up, that just makes them bigger bullies. So, we as
Americans, we need to stand on our constitutional rights, on our rights as citizens and hang tough. This is a good country, we’ll prevail,” he said.
The court has given Harrington two weeks to report to the Jackson County Jail to begin serving his sentence."
The issue is whether Harrington diverted water from a stream on his property to put in his reservoirs/ponds. From CNS News:
But Tom Paul, administrator of the Oregon Water Resources Department, claims that Harrington has been violating the state’s water use law by diverting water from streams running into the Big Butte River.
“The law that he is actually violating is not the 1925 provision, but it’s Oregon law that says all of the water in the state of Oregon is public water and if you want to use that water, either to divert it or to store it, you have to acquire a water right from the state of Oregon before doing that activity,” Paul told CNSNews.com.
Yet Paul admitted the 1925 law does apply because, he said, Harrington constructed dams to block a tributary to the Big Butte, which Medford uses for its water supply.
“There are dams across channels, water channels where the water would normally flow if it were not for the dam and so those dams are stopping the water from flowing in the channel and storing it- holding it so it cannot flow downstream,” Paul told CNSNews.com.
Harrington, however, argued in court that that he is not diverting water from Big Butte Creek, but the dams capturing the rainwater and snow runoff – or “diffused water” – are on his own property and that therefore the runoff does not fall under the jurisdiction of the state water managers, nor does it not violate the 1925 act.