Government Criminalizing Rainwater Collection in All Out War on Self Sufficiency
Phillip Schneider, Staff
Collecting rainwater is classically seen as a safe and sustainable way of supplying your household with an off-the-grid water supply. Some people collect rainwater only for a backup reservoir, while others prefer to go all the way and maintain their household with pure off-the-grid rainwater collection. This method ensures water during emergencies, can help control floods, saves money and liberates us from company-dependence for our water.
Consequently, this freedom to collect our own rainwater is currently under attack. State laws have been set up in several U.S. States including Oregon, Utah, California, Florida, Colorado and Washington that prohibit the collection, or “diversion” of rainwater, including water that is falling on your own property and is to be used for your own private use or as an environmental conservation technique.
This idea of state-owned rainwater is opposed both by environmentalists on the left, and libertarians and constitutionalists on the right, and even historical figures such as Chief Seattle when he allegedly said during his 1854 oration to the European colonists “how can you own the rain?” Supporters are mainly governments and collectivists who tend to lean toward ideologies that sacrifice individual liberties.
Although it seems commonsense that the water that falls on your own property would of course belong to you, state governments increasingly challenge that idea with legislation demanding that your water doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to them, they say, and if you want to use “their” water then you first have to obtain a “Water Right” – and if you are denied this right, the water that falls on your own property (even if you need it) will be illegal to use – you will be thrown in jail or fined for the use of that water. You are now a Water Criminal.
Take for example the story of Gary Harrington, an Oregon man who had three ponds, or what the Oregon State Water Managers called “three illegal reservoirs” of water on his more than 170 acres of land. Harrington was reportedly sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined over $1,500 for having these “illegal reservoirs” on his property. The state claims that he is “diverting” water from Big Butte Creek, but he argues that he was only collecting the rainwater that falls on his own property, which later falls into to the creek.
CNS News reports:
“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.
This issue is not isolated and it’s happening more than ever. Increasingly, people are being banned from all kinds of off-the-grid activities such as camping on their own property or heating your home with wood. Residents of Colorado, Florida and California have all had similar experiences to Harrington. Robin Rutan, an off-the-grid resident, reportedly told Colorado Public Radio “We’ve been regulated out of life” and that “I came here because I couldn’t live by the codes [in other regions].”
Another Colorado resident said “We are residents who have come to live off the grid. It’s all our land…These are harsh economic times. We have nowhere to go”. Residents of California are having increasingly harder time due to these “water laws” in wake of the drought that is taking place there.
Many people of the world still utilize rainwater as a major water source, such as the people of Singapore (28 to 33% of total water used), Indonesia, Bangladesh, Thailand, Hawaii and more. A Colorado study reveals that “With rainwater harvesting, outdoor water demand is reduced by approximately 65% with moderate conservation and approximately 88% with water wise conservation.” showing that collecting rainwater helps the environment through conservation and reduces dependency on company water.
Read more articles from Phillip Schneider.
About the Author
Phillip Schneider is a student and a contributing author to Waking Times.
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