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Man Gets 30 Days in Jail for Collecting Rainwater

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By Andrew Lu on August 13, 2012 10:03 AM

Gary Harrington will be spending the next 30 days in jail for collecting rainwater and snow runoff on his property.

The Oregon man was found guilty two weeks ago for breaking a 1925 law for having "three illegal reservoirs" on his property, reports CNSNews. Harrington was convicted of nine misdemeanors and received a $1500 fine in addition to the prison sentence.

Harrington surrendered himself to authorities to begin his prison term and said that he was sacrificing himself to stand up for liberty. While a noble gesture, the fact of the matter is that Harrington broke a law, and is now serving the time.

Typically, when you think of someone going off to jail, you think assault, battery, or even murder. You rarely ever think of reservoirs and rainwater diversions. However, there are many different laws that can result in prison time and the nature of the law does not necessarily have to be violent or even popular.

Rainwater diversion and collection may seem like a dumb law, but Oregon legislators had once mulled over the wording of the law and enacted it for a reason. And the fact that state authorities chose to prosecute Harrington signifies that there is some import to the law.

For example, if everyone built reservoirs on their property and collected rainwater, there is a chance that Oregon's rivers, lakes, ponds, and streams could suffer. So while Gary Harrington's arrest may have brought some publicity to the "stupidity" of his prison sentence, a benefit may be that more Oregon residents now know that you can't always collect rainwater and snow runoff on your property.

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