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Water districts try to stop residents from stealing water from rural hydrants

Published On: Dec 24 2013 02:39:10 AM CST   Updated On: Aug 19 2013 08:27:48 PM CDT

Water districts are struggling to prevent residents from stealing water from rural fire hydrants.

General Manager of the Bella Vista Water District David Coxey said for the past few years, as the summer marijuana crop gets closer to harvest and the streams dry up, growers turn to steal water from rural fire hydrants.

It is not just the Bella Vista Water District, Coxey said it is a problem throughout the state.

He said there is a right way to turn a hydrant on and off and a wrong way and if it is done improperly, it can damage the system. And he said water trucks are known to pull up to remote hydrants at night to be filled up with water, then taken to marijuana grows.

The Bella Vista Water District, along with other water districts are considering putting locks on fire hydrants, which brings another set of problems.

Firefighters and properly trained construction workers who fill water trucks to keep the dust down on jobs are the only ones who should be at hydrants.

Still, Al Cathey from the Shasta County Public Works Department said that someone turned off a hydrant improperly recently, doing between $8,000 and $10,000 worth of damage to the Elk Trail system.

If you live near a rural fire hydrant, keep an eye on it and report anything suspicious.