Hot! Man Jailed for Building Reservoirs on His Own Land

Photo by Ruben Holthuijsen

Gary Harringotn, 64, was found guilty for building three man-made ponds containing nearly 13 million gallons on water and sentenced to 30 days in jail.

The Oregon man was convicted of nine misdemeanors and fined $1,500 for building the reservoirs on his own property. However, a 1925 law states that all water is publicly owned and while the state initially approved permits for the ponds, this was later reversed.

Harrington built the reservoirs to collects rainwater and snow runoff and has collected nearly 13 million gallons of water.

Oregon’s Water Resources Department said that while it is legal to set up rainwater collection barrels on roofs or other surfaces, the reservoirs went far beyond that and required permits.

In 2003 the state approved the permits for the ponds but then reversed the decision.

Harrington has been ordered to drain his three reservoirs but he said that the state is infringing upon his rights as a property owner and that he is only using the water for personal use and fire suppression.

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