Tougher Penalties for Water Theft on TID Agenda

David Fransen

Water thieves beware: the Turlock Irrigation District Board of Directors will consider setting a new, harsher penalty for the unauthorized use of irrigation water on Tuesday.

The current rate for unauthorized use of water, a $250 fine plus three times the current water rate, was set in 1994.

“While a revision to the resolution is needed, the intention of the policy remains – to deter customers from using water without authorization,” a staff report reads.

The proposed new rate would be a $1,000 fine, plus $60 per acre-foot of unauthorized water use. Growers would be required to pay all fines before any water deliveries would resume to their parcels.

The unauthorized water use would also be charged against a parcel's available water for the irrigation season. And upon a second offense, all water deliveries could be withheld from all parcels owned or rented by the grower at the TID General Manager's discretion.

The harsher penalties are part of a TID plan to prevent water waste. Directors hope a reduction in waste will, in part, make up for extra usage allowed by a four acre-inch irrigation water cap increase approved on May 14.

On Tuesday, TID Board of Directors is also expected to:
• Hear regular weekly updates on electrical service, power generation, irrigation water availability, and the status of the irrigation season.
• Hear a monthly report on activities of the Electrical Engineering and Operations Administration.
• In closed session, discuss three cases of anticipated litigation.

The TID Board of Directors will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the board room of the TID Main Office Building, 333 E. Canal Dr., Turlock.

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