Government Destroys Couple's Rights Over Rainwater: "If You're Honest, They Take Everything Away"

Tyler Durden's picture

With each passing year,'s Mac Slavo notes there are more and more challenges to personal property and individual sovereignty.

Despite the resilience it lends to our national security, the government has proven again and again that it wishes to clamp down on the ability to prep, survive and self-sustain off grid, and without the need for the system’s supply chain.


You can hardly build your own place, grow your own food, collect your own water or take care of yourself without the intervention of those in authority. There is need to push back against this continued intrusion of our lives.

Couple Forced to Destroy 40-Year-Old Pond On Their Own Property Because Govt Owns The Rainwater

Authored by Claire Bernish via The Free Thought Project,

An Oregon couple has been told they must destroy a 2-acre pond on their land — the property’s most attractive feature — because the government said so.

Although Jon and Sabrina Carey purchased the 10-acre property near Butte Falls two and a half years ago, the pond has been in place for 40 years — but that fact doesn’t matter to the Jackson County Watermaster’s Office.

“I basically bought a lemon,” said Jon, who became teary-eyed at the edge of the partially ice-covered body of water being targeted by government, in an interview with the Mail Tribune. “That’s how they explained it to me.”

But the couple desperately wants to keep the stunning longstanding feature in tact, so, as the Mail Tribune reports, the Careys have “pleaded with the Medford Water Commission to adopt the pond and treat it as a municipal water source, something Jackson County Watermaster Larry Menteer has opposed because of the precedent it would set.

“The Water Commission has rights to the watershed around the Careys’ property, where dozens, if not hundreds, of ponds are located, as well as Medford’s primary source of water, Big Butte Springs.”

And the Careys aren’t the only people in the watershed who’ve had difficulties with, well, ‘the government’s’ water.

Eagle Point resident Gary Harrington spent 90 days in jail for illegally harboring some 13 million gallons of illicit rainwater — that’s enough rain to fill around 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Harrington masterfully crafted several ponds on his property — even building docks for one, and stocking it with largemouth bass — but his insistence the water would assist in fire control and prevention didn’t satisfy the government, since a “1925 state law dictates that the water belongs to the Medford Water Commission.”

As Mother Nature Network’s Matt Hickman reported in 2012,

The bigger story here is that rainwater collection is indeed kosher in Oregon, provided that you’re capturing it from an artificial, impervious surface such as a rooftop with the assistance of rainwater barrels. But an extensive reservoir set-up complete with 10- and 20-foot-tall dams is verboten without the proper, state-issued water-right permits — after all, Oregon law dictates that water is a publicly owned resource — and Harrington did not possess said permits.

Harrington and the Oregon Water Resources Department waged an extended battle over the ponds, and at one point, it was ruled he would be allowed to keep everything in place — but that decision was backtracked in less than one year.

Ultimately, “Rain Man,” as he came to be called, found himself charged with nine misdemeanors, spent three months behind bars, and had to shell out $1,500 in fines — and was ordered to destroy the dams and drain all the ponds.

Harrington’s case might have been infinitely more complex than the Careys’ — considering the large volume of water and infrastructure he’d put in place — but they share the same theme of overbearing government and arguably wholly unnecessary law versus the right of people to do as they please with their property.

“When you’re honest, they take everything away from you,” said Sabrina Carey, who inspected country records — which plainly showed the pond — before they purchased the property.

Going by the book might have been the ‘fatal’ error for the couple, however, since the county didn’t take issue with the pond until Jon sought to grow legal medical cannabis on the land and had to prove there was a viable source of water for the grow operation.

According to the Watermaster’s Office, the previous owners had not received a permit for the pond, so the Careys were now in violation of Oregon regulations — and they would have to shoulder the cost of draining the water.

In an effort to prove the pond is legitimate and persuade county government to allow it to remain on the property, the couple stopped using it — even though the well on their land had run dry — and began shipping in the water for daily living and gardening from nearly Butte Falls.

They’ve also had no choice but to hire attorney Sarah Liljefelt, who filed a request with Jackson County to provide a permit for them to store water, stating, “The reservoir on Ms. Carey’s property, though small, is one of the largest in the area.”

As the Mail Tribune notes, “Liljefelt said the pond is an important source of water for beavers, otters, elk, deer, bear, mountain lion, bobcat, bald eagle osprey, great blue heron, snowy egret, Canada geese and the western pond turtle.”

By all appearances, the large pool of water does more good for the environment than if it weren’t there at all — during their fight with the State, the Careys even suggested it be used for fire control and prevention, like Harrington did, as the pond is easily accessible by fire crews.

But the county has displayed only nonsensical obstinance on the issue.

“This pond seems to be doing way more public good than not being here. Why, now, is it so important to be removed?” Jon lamented.

Indeed, the 40-year-old man doesn’t even profit from the medical cannabis grown on the land he and his wife own, as he literally gives the crop — free of charge — to friends.

“I don’t make anything out of this,” he said.

Members of the Water Commission disagree on whether this is an issue worth fighting over at all, but as the Mail Tribune reports,

Water Commission staff found several problems with the Careys’ request, including setting a precedent that could prompt similar requests and weaken state statutes while not meeting the definition of ‘municipal water source.’ The staff found it would be very difficult to access the water stored in the pond for municipal reasons, and further monitoring and following up on compliance issues would be difficult and costly for the commission.

However, the commission also failed to state why this should be a matter for the government in the first place — why punitive bureaucracy needs to meddle with a pond on private property, serving as a valuable ecosystem, that poses no threat to anyone or anything, and isn’t even an eyesore, must be destroyed.

Besides a trailer home and dilapidated house, the pond is the only thing of value on their acreage, and, obviously, as Sabrina said, “We didn’t buy it for the double-wide.”

She told the Mail Tribune the pond should have been registered with the Oregon Water Resources Department nine years ago, but the owners at that time did not reside on the property and didn’t do so.

They have even offered to reduce the pond’s size, allow officials to inspect it when necessary, and have provided a draft easement to the commission in hopes of allowing the prized water feature to remain intact — thus far to no avail.

“We’re just trying to do it by the rules,” Sabrina explained. “I’m trying to cooperate.”

In 2012, Gary Harrington had already been through years of conflict with government officials over illicit water — and provided CNSNews with stronger sentiment on the topic:

When something is wrong, you just, as an American citizen, you have to put your foot down and say, ‘This is wrong; you just can’t take away anymore of my rights and from here on in, I’m going to fight it.’

That government feels entitled to not only something located on private property, but that people should not be allowed to collect rain, is everything wrong with excessive government — and the overregulation of daily life.

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NoWayJose's picture

The government is great at Whack-a-mole - so keep your head down!

DownWithYogaPants's picture

This is the "Water as a scarce resource"  theme the government and their puppeteers are working on the inhabitants of Earth.  This scam is world wide.  

Know the story of Brazil aquifer where they told people they could not use water out of their wells?   There was a rebellion on that one!

Also heard William Engdahl talk about Bush family involvement in an South American aquifer.  This sort of bull shit needs to go.

Just in case you missed the pattern:

  1. Round up ownership of said resource
  2. declare an ecological emergency: global warming / scarce water / acid rain / if you need patent coverage talk about ozone layer
  3. watch prices rise
  4. goto step 1


Doubts?  Wall St Mega Banks are buying up the world's water:  

El Vaquero's picture

If you live where the static water level is ~20' or closer to the surface, learn how to drive your own well and set things up with pressure tanks, check valves, a jet pump, etc...  Then don't tell people that you have your own well that you drove.  Build a shed around it or something.  I know a guy who built a "kiva" and put his own well in it to avoid paying exorbitant city water costs. 

NoDebt's picture

After these poor people drain their pond the EPA will step in and fine them again for taking away the "natural habitat" for some bizarre and rare species that took up residence there 20+ years ago.

Their legal troubles have only begun.


bonderøven-farm ass's picture

Kelo vs The City of New London (2005)

You don't own fucking shit, bitchezz..... 


The Saint's picture

Where these people went wrong is that they didn't play one government buracracy against another.

The U.S. Clean Water Act has jurisdiction over all waterways and natural water habitats even on private property.  If the property owners had contacted the EPA about the State of Oregon forcing them to destroy the water habitat the Federal government would have probably sued the Oregon government to keep the habitat.  And, we all know the Feds always win when fighting the States.

Problem solved.


jbvtme's picture

try not recording the deed when you purchase property. when you do you volunteer to submit to their regulations and tax levies.

jeff montanye's picture

unfortunately if the one who sold the property to you knows this, and anyone can check those records, s/he might sell it again to someone else. and that person, who records it, might move in and you out.

Manthong's picture

If you like your hydration and God-given water…..

..time to fix their f’ng asses……….


“Jackson County Watermaster”


Sorry, bub… this whole concept means WAR…….


you cannot put a cordon large enough around you.


..and smart people do not fight the police or the military…

…they take out the arrogant politicians. schmuck at a time…

--they will get the lesson eventually.


...and "Who runs Bartertowm"

...this is what you get..


..and on a patriotic note…

The “shot heard round the world” …

..was fired from a guy in a tree.



tmosley's picture

If the city owns the water, does that mean private citizens can sue for water damage?

I'd tell those guys to come and collect the water, without damaging my property, and that they will start being charged storage fees if it isn't all gone in a week.

See how long they claim ownership once they start incurring the liabilities that come with ownership.

Holy hand grenade of Antioch's picture
Holy hand grenade of Antioch (not verified) tmosley Dec 27, 2016 7:27 PM

and all because they had that MAGA sign in the yard!

Stuck on Zero's picture

The owner should contact "Rent-a-Beaver" pronto.

chumbawamba's picture

This is kind of a "oh well" issue.  Many states have laws about who owns the water based in their respective constitutions.  This is why we have a Union.  At any time you can pick up and leave one Union state and be entirely welcome, at home and an automatic citizen of any other Union state you decide to move to.  California is one state where riparian water rights are inherent in the title to land (although we have our fair share of Agenda 21 tomfuckery that more than offsets the water rights we have).

The only other way to fight it is to foment a constitutional convention and have the water rights re-stated in favor of the individual and tied to the land.

I am Chumbawamba.

GreatUncle's picture

Could work if you assumed it was really about water.

It is about enslaving all humans into their system that is so good for them.

The USA is now no different to the european countries that people fled from in the formation of the union.

OldTrooper's picture

I see you have completed the "How to Fuck Up Real Estate Title" course online.

Go ahead and do it.  It's stupid shit like this that keeps me working.

jbvtme's picture

my property law professor tipped me off to the fact that recording deeds is a voluntary act. assuming the property is not financed, a person may record any paperwork "against" the deed of the "owner of record". for example, a bill of sale or any notice alerting potential buyers that the property and its title have been transferred.  so what distiguishes the owner of record from the legal possessor? Notice. if the owner of record resells the property, both he and the new buyer could be subject to an injunction. this is not "legal" advice. it's the antidote to property taxes and regulations. and a prescription for freedom.

OldTrooper's picture

Your law professor wasn't entirely wrong, it's just the conclusions you drew from that lesson that are. I will explain.  

Most states are 'race notice' which means the first person to record their deeds is presumed to have the superior claim.  You might have claim against the Grantor (seller) on your deed, but if the other buyer was genuine and paid actual consideration for the land you'd have no claim against him, and you'd loose.  Or, the record owner could fraudulently get a loan against the property.  The mortgage gets recorded before your deed - you loose.  You might prevail in court if you can prove the other buyer wasn't bona-fide.  (Let's see an $50,000 court case -or- spend $5 to record a deed.  What a tough choice!)

Also, you will not avoid property taxes.  The property will be on the county tax rolls.  It will have taxes assessed against it.  It will be sold for taxes if they are not paid.  Your trick might get you an extra year, maybe two depending on your state law and how willing you are to fight in court, but you will either pay the property taxes or loose the property.

A recorded deed does give notice to the world and a certified copy of it is as good as the original.  An unrecorded deed can be lost, destroyed in a fire, stolen, etc.  You'd have no evidence of your ownership if that happened.  The Grantor would not be obligated to give another deed, and what will you do if they can't be located or have died?  Your assett is no longer recognized as being 'yours' and you can't sell it, get a loan against it or otherwise deal in it without curing the defect, which probably means a quiet title action in court.  (Again, an expensive court case -or- spend $5 to record your deed.  A dilema indeed!)

As for 'avoiding regulation' - do really think the tax assessor won't notice un-permitted structures when they inspect the property (You do know they do physical inspections, right)?  Do you think your busy-body neighbors won't complain?  These things get reported and investigated with great enthusiasm, even in fairly remote areas.  Building and code enforcement officers love this kind of thing and there is a great legal machine ready to grind you up.

You do what you like, but I record my deeds, pay my taxes and comply with local building and zoning regulations.  This preserves my properties' value and marketability.  It also keeps the agents of the State sated and out of my hair.  Go on thinking you are putting one over on 'the man' and, when it all goes to shit for you, the next owner might hire me to come in and figure out how to fix your fucked up title.

Citxmech's picture

Don't become a bar exam question.  Record your fucking deeds - ASAP - always.  

OldTrooper's picture

Yeah, I was a bit verbose. +1 to you for brevity.

BarkingCat's picture

"Kelo vs The City of New London"


One day they will do this to the wrong person. The contractor and government official(s) will end of hanging from the lampposts.

rahrog's picture

It is only a matter of time.


El Vaquero's picture

I would get out of that without an attorney.  A valid legal defense is one law that  forces you to break another puts you into an untenable position.  I'd pit the EPA against the local government, sit back and watch the fireworks.  Unfortunately, it costs $500 to file in Federal now. 


If you have an issue with two different government agencies, and one of them is stepping on another's jurisdiction, you use that to your advantage.  It happened in my state with red light cameras.  One city (actually  at least two, but the other hasn't had its law challenged yet,) had a law that said that people appealing a red light camera ticket had to follow the rules of evidence, but the city's stuff was admissable.  Only the courts have the authority to change the RoE here, and when the guy appealed to district court, the court took up that issue sua sponte.  It was a case of one agency stepping on another's toes, and if you merely point that out, shit will get done. 

beemasters's picture

"However, the commission also failed to state why this should be a matter for the government in the first place...."

Yes, I'd like to know.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Because they have the 'legal' guns and the 'legal' right to kill using those guns.

Theosebes Goodfellow's picture

Wouldn't it be simpler to just up and shoot the Jackson County Watermaster? Short of that, how about just changing the law? Oh, that's right. Oregon is full of leftists. I guess the guy should be grateful they haven't started taxing the air he breathes. It's a good thing another state is already using the "Live free or Die" motto, as Oregon would be ineligible.

bobbbny's picture

First they came for the water, but I didn't have any water so I said nothing.

Then they came for the gardens, but I didn't have a garden so I said nothing.

Then they came for the air........

Overfed's picture

Kinda my thought. The real problem here is that government doesn't fear the people.

fulliautomatix's picture

There's a fellow in Australia just went to jail for shooting a .gov emplyoee who insisted that he stop clearing his farm of trees. The message is out and .gov isn't pushing the issue any more, officially.

Al Gophilia's picture

Yup. It's .gov employees who pull this shit. The Government is a construct, the bureaucrat is the trigger puller.

Putrid's picture

A neighbor of mine got clubbed to death recently, in Ireland, he was a serial objector to planning development. He even objected to my neighbors application for a wheelchair accessible bathroom after her child got ill. Plenty of suspects but no charges so far. It sent a chilling message to assholes who enjoy harassing people. There are a lot of angry people out there .

Joe Davola's picture

The hairy chested nutscratcher.

Delving Eye's picture

Most of the houses in my New England town have their own well. Mine is 60' deep and draws all the water I need -- FREE. It's delicious, too. A little hard (calcium), but our water softener fixes that, and I can adjust the hardness to where I want it. Wish I could do the same with natural gas, the way some homeowners in Kansas do -- popping a pipe in the ground and drawing fuel for pennies, or close. Whereas I pay a lot for oil and electricity in Connecticut. Still, I'd say that water is more valuable, and I've got plenty! Screw the gubment.

Pinche Caballero's picture

FYI, came across this method just recently, could be used to drill a well under such conditions you described, wherever water levels are close to the surface, or possibly to refurbish an existing but long unused, deeper well.

Did a search for "DIY well-drilling"

I prefer to own the means to production, just in case of periods of unavailability. And, it could provide an additional means of income during hard times, if your well produces enough extra to sell to folks that can afford to buy it (supply/demand)...

OverTheHedge's picture

It's not as easy as it looks, especially if you have BIG rocks to get through. A better option should be this:

I'm looking to have a go this September, and if a couple of teenagers do it, so can I.

Pinche Caballero's picture

OTH, thanks for the great video! There are often, in fact, more ways than one to skin cats. As I work out the kinks to refurbish my own water supply on an old farm, your link will provide useful indeed.

What really impressed me were the lean and fit youth in flip-flops and cut-offs mentally engaged in good, wholesome, and productive physical activity. Throw in some scrap metal and second-hand tools and turn 'em loose!

We need more of THAT! That is what will "make America great again!".

Tarzan's picture

Here in North East Florida my home has two sources of county supplied water.  Regular tap water, and recycled grey water for watering the lawn.  Because I'm hooked up to grey water, which I pay dearly for, I am not allowed to have a well, not even a shallow well.

I mentioned this earlier this week in a story about oil.  The water "shortage" is Propaganda, just like the "shortage" of oil and "rare" diamonds.

Unless you've chosen a home in a mile high desert, water "shortages" are planned hobgoblins.  There's more water then land on this planet, and there's no damn excuse for rationing water in Florida!

Creating drinking water from the ocean is not that difficult.  And besides that, does anyone really consume water, or doesn't it just keep making the rounds?  You drink it, then sweat it back out where it's carried to the clouds, or absorbed back into the aquifer.  It never leaves the planet on our account, As far as I can tell.

They baffle us with this bullshit, attempting to short circuit our God given common sense.  How anyone is fooled on this is beyond me.  Take a look around, this type crap is everywhere.  They limit everything they can profit from.

You want to go catch a fish for dinner, better check the regulations, there may be a shortage.....   How about a dear, or a hog, those are rare too.....   How about squirrel, is there a bag limit in your town?  In recent years, here in NE Florida, they're limiting, and occasionally even closing, the Black Sea Bass and Vermilion Snapper catch, the equivalent of putting a limit on minnows, which swarm the Atlantic by the billions.

It's all about controlling the resources, and herding the consumer to their door.

This is just one more proof that Government is the number one enemy of the People!

bmccic's picture

Absolutely! Headlines like "Earth running out of water", "Man-made global warming" or "Peak oil" defy common sense. So much of this is manipulated garbage and force-fed into the population.

Squid-puppets a-go-go's picture

'illicit rainfall'

whats next, contraband oxygen ?

Dabooda's picture

No, but the carbon dioxide you exhale will be subject to "carbon taxes."



gladih8r's picture

Yeah, so if you go for a jog as opposed to sitting on the couch, you'd have to pay a jogging toll....hmmm, I bet some global warminst .gov sociopath is already thinking how to cash in on this.

JRobby's picture

These county administrators are not interesting people. They are limited. They socialize and congregate with similarly uninteresting people. Limited and talentless for the most part. But politically connected. 

This guys job is to accumulate water and allocate it based on water rights? But the power goes to their head in no time.


Condition 1SQ's picture

Having dealt with planning, zoning and building departments for years, this is true.  They're universally anti-capitalistic and resent anyone with money.  They actually see their job as a way of keeping those wealthier than they (which is damn near everyone) in check.  Unfortunately, the best way to deal with them is to know the regs better than they do and let them know before you plan on doing anything.  You will pay dearly in the long run if you try to conceal activity from them.  The sad truth is that even out in the county, you are only allowed to conduct approved activities on a patch of land.  If what you're doing doesn't fall within an approved use for zoned land, you are technically in violation of code.  Think about that.

TwelveOhOne's picture

Fuck their codes.  The below works in Florida and I'm getting ready to purchase property in MA and intend to repeat the research he did, for that state.

Remove Your Property From the Tax Roll, Parts 1 through 7:

shovelhead's picture

That's why they dont know about the old well sitting under my bathroom.

A 12v. battery and a turn of a ball valve connects the entire house to the well and gets me all the clean water I will ever need.

Fuck their "codes".

techpriest's picture

You laugh, but I know leftists who actually want to do that.

"We care about the poor!" Yeah, right.

Cruel Aid's picture

 bush article good stuff yoga

Tarzan's picture

good stuff indeed,

Bush family dynasty, whose purchases of 121,407 hectares of land just happen to be located on part of the Guarani Aquifer System. The groundwater reservoir is the largest [renewable freshwater] resource in the world, with an expanse of more than 1.2 million square kilometers and a volume of 40,000 cubic kilometers of water.

Yang points out that a subterranean reservoir of such proportions could supply the world with drinking water for 200 years.


That's 200 years, if you stopped the flow of water renewing it.   In the 200 years it would take the entire worlds population to consume this water, how much more would flow back in?

Is it any wonder why the Bush family wants world government?  They're not content with raping America of it's resources.  These are people who look down on the planet from 50,000 feet and see the world's people as cattle to herd, who plan their con jobs world wide on 100 year time lines.

These are the things masters do to slaves, while pretending to be "public servents", duplicity gone wild.  One day these evil pricks will be exposed for the worms they are!

The Gun Is Good's picture

The only good Bush is a dead Bush.