On Sunday, a reader contacted YubaNet and reported the Tarr ditch was running dry. The irrigation canal, operated by NID, carries water for 115 customers in the Wolf Mountain and Penn Valley areas.

Reader submitted photo of the Tarr canal on Sunday

NID confirmed the issue and Operations Manager Chip Close stated “At 8am on Sunday morning, our Distribution Operator found spill #1 on the Tarr canal vandalized, and water was spilling from our canal directly into Wolf Creek. The vandalism included the breaking of our check boards and damage to the structure.”

At least 969,408 gallons of water spilled directly in Wolf Creek between 8 am and 11 am. For comparison, an Olympic swimming pool contains 660,000 gallons of water.

NID crews repaired the damage by 11:00 am on Sunday, and water flows were restored to the ditch.

“This is the first time we have experienced vandalism at this location. We will be adding some additional armor and locks to the spill channel to try to prevent this from occurring in the future,” said Close.

Asked if the district was experiencing more water theft than usual, Close stated, “It is very hard to determine if we are experiencing a higher volume of theft. I can say that do to the current drought, awareness has been raised, and we are receiving more reports of suspicious or illegal activity than usual. We appreciate the notifications so we can investigate.”