Regulators say first water case aided by detailed records

Jul 22, 2015 6:03 PM by News Staff, Photo: CDWR

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California regulators say their first prosecution involving unauthorized diversions of water during the drought will spare them some of the usual challenges involving such cases.

The regulators have proposed a $1.5 million fine against the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District in the Central Valley.

While many districts don't meter or report water use regularly, records of Byron-Bethany's diversion for 160 farming families and a suburban community are unusually detailed.

Prosecutors allege the district pumped 675 million gallons from a channel in June even after regulators warned the watershed was running too low to meet its demand.

Lawyers for Byron-Bethany counter that the state didn't prove there wasn't enough water for the district under its water right.

As a result, they say, the state can't prove the district illegally took water.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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