Special to Iredell Free News

As pool and construction season continues, Iredell Water Corporation is warning the public — and especially people and companies considering water theft — that stealing water is a crime.

Water theft raises costs for customers and threatens Iredell Water’s water quality. When a thief rigs up an improper connection to Iredell Water’s system, their actions can lead to contamination of the drinking water in the area where the theft is taking place.

Because of the potential threats to water rates and quality, individuals caught stealing water from a hydrant are subject to fines and criminal prosecution. Fines for stealing water from a hydrant are $1,000 for the first offense and $2,000 for subsequent offenses.

Enforcement assistance is provided by the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office.

Iredell Water accepts tips from customers and offers a $100 reward for information leading to the conviction of any person or company committing water theft. If anyone suspects a person or company is stealing water from an Iredell Water hydrant, call 704-876-0672 during business hours or 704-876-0673 after hours — or by calling the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office.