The state of California is not playing around when it comes to their water shortage. This week the state has proposed a historic $1.5 million fine on a group of Central Valley farmers who have been accused of stealing water during the drought. This drastic measure only goes to support the severity of the drought that has plagued California for four years which has prompted the local government to enforce cutbacks across the state.
Currently, all counties have just been issued letters to have all water pipes and showers outfitted with city-regulated shower heads in order to conserve water. Not complying will result in fines up to $2,000. As for the allegations of water theft, California says they issued over 9,000 notices to the Central Valley farmers to cease pumping water, however evidence shows they continued to divert water from a pumping plant despite the warnings.
The Central Valley district has 20 days to contest the fine before the water board. Currently, no one is making a statement except for the district manager who believes they are being unfairly targeted. The farmers in the Central Valley are expected to lose $65 million in crops this year that includes cherries and walnuts.
If convicted, the district could be fined up to $5 million although it is possible for the district to appeal the ruling if they have evidence proving they were not purposefully diverting water to help their crops. As for now, all evidence is in favor of the state who believes that fair treatment when it comes to water rationing is the key to surviving the drought.