A Jail Sentence For Drinking Water

“All oppression creates a state of war.”  —Simone de Beauvoir

Gary Harrington Goes to Jail for Collecting Rain Water

On Wednesday, July 25 Skip featured a Guest Post from Ken Eyring. The central thesis of Mr. Eyring’s post was that the NH Water Sustainability Commission gave a low-profile public notice seeking input from the public regarding management of  Granite State water resources over the next 25 year period.

On Sunday July 29, Skip followed up with a response from House Democrat Representative Judith Spang  to Ken Eyring. As shown, Spang made several, “The state owns the water, not you,” implied assertions.”

First, she asserts,

“I believe you are misconstruing the statements made by the Commission, which are pretty broad and not aimed at your private well, ‘by and large.’

“By and large,” it doesn’t rain much here….but it does rain. “By and Large,” we are not looking to control the water under your property, but we might.

The liberal-progressive-statist Democrat liberal from Durham never really comes right out and says, “The State owns all the water,” but, I invite you to read the three prior posts on this topic and see if they don’t lead you to that conclusion.  After all, why argue the finer points and nuances of common law versus statutory law?  Why try and back somebody off their property rights position, were it not the case?

To what point does all this talk about water rights bring us?  Here is where the conversation brings us. Lets talk about Gary Harrington of  Eagle Point Oregon.  Harrington surrendered himself this past Wednesday to Jackson County Jail to begin serving his 30-day sentence. His Crime? Nine misdemeanor counts of Operating three illegal reservoirs…i.e. He was jailed for collecting rainwater and snow-melt run-off. 

The six-member jury entered a guilty verdict on Harrington, three counts each charging illegal use of water denied by a water master, unauthorized use of water and interfering with a lawfully established head gate or water box.

As fate would have it, a 1925  law hands broad, sweeping authority to the water commission over all the water in Big Butte Creek, its tributaries and  Springs.

Harrington asserted that no diversion of water from the creek system occurs. He, instead,  captures rainwater and snow melt naturally occurring on his 172-acres maintaining that such runoff is outside of the purview of state jurisdiction, thus not violating the 1925 law.

Here is a recent example of what will likely and eventually spiral out of Water Sustainability Commissions….“by and large…”