EAGLE POINT, Ore. — A Southern Oregon man is serving a 30-day sentence in jail for creating three illegal reservoirs on his property and using them to store rainwater. Gary Harrington has been collecting rain and other runoff in his artificial reservoirs for decades, but according to a 1925 state law, since that runoff would typically run into Butte Creek, the water belongs to the city of Medford. Therefore, Harrington cannot get the necessary permits for the reservoirs.
The Butte Falls fire department is urging law enforcement officials not to drain the reservoirs. It says Harrington’s ponds can be an invaluable source in the event of a wildfire since there are no other similar water sources for miles.