California American Water Partners With Local Law Enforcement to Prevent Water Theft

In cooperation with Ventura County's Sheriff Department and District Attorney, California American Water works to stop illegal water use

Jan 12, 2010, 03:00 ET from California American Water

NEWBURY PARK, Calif., Jan. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- California American Water announced today that it is on the lookout for instances of water theft, a crime that often occurs when water is taken from a fire hydrant without the required authorizations.  In conjunction with the Ventura County District Attorney's Office, California American Water hosted a briefing for the Ventura County Sheriff's Department covering topics including: the mechanics of water theft; what to look for in the field; and how the company is working to prevent individuals from stealing water.

"Water theft certainly accounts for a portion of our water losses," said Al Yanez, California American Water's Operations Manager in Ventura County.  "We understand there are legitimate reasons for the use of water from a fire hydrant; however, there is a process in place for obtaining permission to use that water."

Contractors who need to use water from a fire hydrant for any project are required to apply for and obtain a hydrant meter from California American Water.  Applications are available at California American Water's local office in Newbury Park, located at 2439 West Hillcrest Drive, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Once an application is approved, California American Water will issue a portable water meter, which ensures that any water taken from a fire hydrant will be measured and billed.

California American Water wants people to understand that taking water from an unmetered source, including fire hydrants, without the appropriate tools and approval is against the law.  Unless they are with the fire department, hydrants are off-limits without prior authorization.  

"It is important to maintain the integrity of our water supply.  Contractors and individuals who violate the law will be prosecuted in all provable cases," said Karen Wold, Senior Deputy District Attorney.  

California American Water's briefing is another step in helping reduce water losses and part of the company's ongoing partnership with local law enforcement agencies.  "We've received a positive response from the Sheriff's Department and the District Attorney's Office," said Yanez. "Everyone understands the importance of addressing water theft and saving water in Ventura County."

All of California American Water's field staff have been trained to investigate fire hydrant use.  When company representatives find a hydrant connection without a meter they are trained to notify local law enforcement.

California American Water, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), provides high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to more than 600,000 people.  California American Water's Ventura service district includes approximately 20,000 households and businesses, thereby supplying water to approximately 60,000 people in the cities of Camarillo, Newbury Park and Thousand Oaks.

Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest investor-owned U.S. water and wastewater utility company.  With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs more than 7,000 dedicated professionals who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to approximately 15 million people in 32 states and Ontario, Canada.  More information can be found by visiting

SOURCE California American Water