Those who steal irrigation water will now face harsher fines, after the Turlock Irrigation District Board of Trustees on Tuesday approved a new resolution on unauthorized use of water.
The resolution is an attempt to “put more teeth” into action taken against customers misusing water, said Mike Kavarian, TID water distribution manager.
“We’re taking this very seriously,” said Kavarian. “It is a short water year and we don’t want people taking advantage of this situation.”
Prior to Tuesday's resolution, the last time the board took action against unauthorized water use was in 1994, when it established a $250 fine for use of excess water.
The new resolution ups that fine to $1,000 and adds an additional $60 fine per acre foot of water used.
Kavarian said he hopes that the added language in the new resolution will help those who are responsible for misuse think twice before taking action.
“We thought it was appropriate to adjust the rates and also add the additional language so it does mean something when you are caught taking water without authorization,” said Kavarian.
The new policy also calls for billing holds on water orders, increased security night patrol, canal gate locks, and a water theft hotline.
Beginning June 11, people can call 883-3440 to report unauthorized use of water. Callers can remain anonymous.
“We’re trying to get as many eyes out there as we can,” said Kavarian.
TID will be sending out letters and emails detailing the additional language of the policy sometime this week.
TID Board president Michael Frantz, said that the board “wholeheartedly supported” the policy.
“We owe it to our customers to aggressively defend this precious resource,” said Casey Hashimoto, TID’s General Manager.