Pacific Grove, CA, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- December 14, 2009 - California American Water has announced that it is to clamp down on the theft of water from fire hydrant.

Contractors who need to use water from a fire hydrant for any project are required to apply for and obtain a hydrant meter permit from the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District. If the permit is obtained from the District, the permit must then be presented to California American Water for issuance of a portable water meter which ensures that any water taken from a fire hydrant will be measured and billed. The district requires that permits expire after 60 days but may be extended twice.

California American Water is also in the process of installing rings on one-third of their approximately 3,500 fire hydrants. The rings state, in English and Spanish, that unauthorized use of fire hydrants is water theft, warning that violators will be prosecuted. Such water theft generally occurs in remote locations.

The company has also reached out to local law enforcement agencies to make them aware of the program and ask for their cooperation in treating water theft as a serious crime.

“Water theft certainly accounts for a portion of our water losses,” said general manager Craig Anthony. “We've instructed our employees who are out in the field every day to investigate hydrant use. When we find a hydrant connection we confirm there is a permit from the water management district, that the meter is ours and that the permittee is up to date on its account.”

The project is part of a comprehensive campaign launched by California American Water to do everything in its power to reduce water losses. Other projects include the replacement of pipelines prone to leakage in the City of Seaside and the installation of new audio technology that detects leaks before they surface.

California American Water, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Water, provides high quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to more than 600,000 people.