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Santa Barbara cracking down on water criminals during historic drought

Water Wise SB

The City of Santa Barbara is getting far more serious about water theft in light of the ongoing drought crisis.

The city's police and public works departments are joining forces to put pressure on those who steel the precious commodity.

The act of unlawfully taking water is now considered a misdemeanor that comes with a fine of $1000.

Water Systems Manager Cathy Taylor says, sadly, this type of crime is nothing new.

"Water theft is always a concern and we have always had water theft, but now that our supplies are dwindling it's more of a concern," said Taylor.

Examples of theft would include water trucks filling up without using a meter, altering or disconnecting your meter at your home or business, or tapping into a vacant property's water system.