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.
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