20,000 Gallons Of Water Taken From Tank At California Elementary School

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Humboldt CountyHumboldt County

A school was forced to closed for a day after 20,000 gallons of water was stolen from an onsite tank in Bridgeville, Calif. It was the second theft of water in the area in the last few weeks.

Think Progress reports that according to the Humboldt County sheriff’s office, the culprit used a school garden hose to drain the water tank and carried it off in a truck. The school had to close for a day as the tank was refilled.

Bridgeville Superintendent and Principal Beth Anderson said a maintenance worker arrived at the K-8 campus and realized there was no running water. She said when he checked the onsite 20,000-gallon tank which stores water for the school -- which serves 43 students -- he discovered it was completely drained, according to the Times-Standard.

”We've not had to deal with cases like this before, but with the warm dry weather conditions we've been having, we expect to see more this year,” Humboldt County Sheriff's Office Lt. Steve Knight said. “It's disturbing that someone would put their own water needs before children.”

The latest theft comes a month after 20,000 gallons of water were stolen from the Weott Community Services District Board, which provides water to a community of 330 people – including another elementary school.

Knight said the crimes do not seem to be connected, but they raise concerns of potential water wars in Humboldt County due to significant marijuana cultivation in the area.

”Just last week, we made arrests for stream diversions at a marijuana grow,” he said. “We may see more of that if the weather stays like this.”

Sources: Think Progress, Times-Standard