It was bound to come to this as the drought in California lingers. Individuals and/or groups have started stealing water. From Accuweather:
With the state of California mired in its fourth year of drought and a mandatory 25 percent reduction in water usage in place, reports of water theft have become common.
In April, The Associated Press reported that huge amounts of water went missing from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and a state investigation was launched. The delta is a vital body of water, serving 23 million Californians as well as millions of farm acres, according to the Association for California Water Agencies.
The AP reported in February that a number of homeowners in Modesto, California, were fined $1,500 for allegedly taking water from a canal. In another instance, thieves in the town of North San Juan stole hundreds of gallons of water from a fire department tank.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 46 percent of California is under exceptional drought conditions, the most intense measurement of drought according to the monitor. The drought is forecast to worsen this summer.
In Madera County, District Attorney David Linn has instituted a water crime task force to combat the growing trend of water theft occurring throughout the state and to protect rightful property owners from having their valuable water stolen.
Jennifer Allen, spokesperson for the Contra Costa Water District in Concord, about 45 minutes from San Francisco, said it’s not uncommon for her agency to receive reports of water theft, but as the drought has continued, she said there has been an uptick in reports.
With the drought showing no signs of letting up, California continues to formulate new strategies to preserve as much water as possible. On May 5, the California State Water Resources Control Board adopted an emergency regulation that calls for a 25 percent reduction in overall potable urban water use in accordance with the governor’s order.