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Theft Prevention

Metal Theft

EMWD, along with many other agencies, has experienced an increase in thefts of metal devices. The theft of fire hydrants, manhole covers and other metal equipment is a criminally punishable action. Stolen hydrants endanger communities by hampering firefighters in not being able to respond quickly to emergencies. Stolen manholes present risks to drivers.

Water agency staff regularly provides information to scrap metal dealers, including recyclers and the Law Enforcement Joint Task Force, about water agency equipment and facility thefts.

EMWD, Western Municipal Water District (WMWD) and Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District (EVMWD) are offering a $500 reward to anyone with information that leads to the arrest and conviction of individuals for vandalism or theft of fire hydrants and other metal facilities. The $500 reward would be funded by the water agency in which the crime occurred.

Please join us in keeping an eye on our neighborhoods to help prevent this type of costly and destructive behavior. If you see suspicious activity around a fire hydrant or other related facilities, report it to your local law enforcement by calling 9-1-1.

If vandalism has already occurred, please contact the water agencies directly.

  • Contact the EMWD IOC at 951-928-3777 ext. 6265
  • Contact WMWD at 951-789-5109
  • Contact EVMWD at 951-674-3146, ext. 8395

You can help prevent thefts by:

  • Painting the backflow device. Paint acts as a deterrent since painted metal is less valuable.
  • Camouflaging the device. Fake rocks work well to hide backflow devices. Just be sure to keep a one-foot clearance around the device.
  • Installing a device with less metal. There are some approved models that utilize plastic, making them less valuable to thieves.
  • Enclosing the device in a locking enclosure. Keep in mind that backflow devices must be tested annually and the tester will need access to your device during that time.

Examples of secure backflow devices are shown below.