Illegal pot growers stealing water in drought-stricken California: Report

They're also using pesticides near open waterways, farmers say

Dylan Stableford
Yahoo News

Some farmers in drought-stricken California say illegal pot growers are stealing their water.

Law enforcement officials told KCRA-TV they recently confiscated nearly 2,000 pounds of irrigation tubing used by marijuana growers in Sacramento County. The National Guard was called in to remove the tubing, which was then airlifted via a police helicopter.

Local farmers say the illegal growers are using pesticides near open waterways, threatening the water supply.

"They leave a lot of trash behind, they leave a lot of chemicals behind," Dave Vierra, a farmer in West Sacramento, told KCRA. "They don't have to follow any rules or regulations like we do."

Last month, California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency. Last week, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said the drought will force the "first-ever complete cutoff of federally supplied irrigation water to most farm districts throughout the state's Central Valley heartland."

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 95 percent of the state is experiencing drought, with 70 percent of California in extreme or exceptional drought.

And the last 12 months have been the driest in California since at least 1885. From Feb. 1, 2013, through Jan. 31, 2014, the state received an average of 6.97 inches of rain, or roughly 15 inches below the normal 22.51.

 

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