Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman on Tuesday said he's made it a top priority to crack down on illegal pot growers who steal millions of gallons of water during the growing season.
"It's a high priority for us," he told the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors.
He estimated there one million pot plants are illegally grown each year in the county. Each one requires about five gallons of water per day, Allman said. Some growers' websites, however, recommend far less water, perhaps a gallon every other day.
He said the county has been successful in prosecuting water theft cases.
Area residents may tolerate marijuana growers, but they don't tolerate water thieves who illegally tap into streams and their neighbors' water tanks, Allman said.
He encourages county residents who suspect water theft to call the Sheriff's tip hotline, 234-2100.