rainwater and anger issues

Had a bidness lunch with a former colleague the other day and the chatter turned to building once the brisket and taters arrived (building a house is a great table topic: everyone has a horror story). My pal designed his own house (it can be done!) for a lot on the outskirts of town with plans of capturing rainfall for indoor and outdoor use. Once the neighbor realized that my pal would be relying on rainwater for his sole supply (and that he would be building on a long-empty lot valued as easy access to the greenbelt), the neighbor tried to rally the neighborhood association against him (everybody had their own water well). When that didn’t work, she sued.

At work, when someone threatens to sue or sues, someone will invariable yelp “They can’t sue us for that!” and my response is “Of course they can: You can be sued for anything!” However, winning a lawsuit is a totally different deal...

For my friend, there was no reason for him to be sued. No deed restrictions, covenants, or subdivision rules prevented him from relying on rainwater for his supply. Furthermore, he was burying his tanks so there were no aesthetic issues. Nonetheless, the neighbor sued alleging that relying on rainwater was going to adversely impact her property values. She withdrew the lawsuit after he showed that she had trespassed on his lot to take photos of his tanks.

He says he doesn’t get invited over for BBQs. And she doesn’t get invited over for a glass of cool, clear water...


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