YREKA, Calif. — Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey says illegal marijuana grows are using more than a million gallons of water per day, which could hurt farmers and firefighters as the county goes through a drought.
Last year the sheriff’s office recovered 189,000 illegal marijuana plants from public lands. Lopey estimates that each individual plant can use several gallons of water per day. With Siskiyou County currently in a drought, those grow sites are limiting the water that is normally used by ranchers and firefighters.
He said cartel grow sites are even diverting water from nearby streams and rivers.
“We are really pressed to meet all the needs of the Siskiyou County people as far as the water issue is concerned,” he said.
Lopey said other nearby counties have seen cartels fill water trucks, then illegally sell the water to other grow sites in rural areas.