MEDFORD, Ore. – With many local jurisdictions facing water shortages farmers are becoming increasingly concerned about people using water for illegal use. The Medford Water Commission said that could be true, but they don’t know.
Folks were filling up at the Medford Water Commission’s Filling Station on Columbus Drive in West Medford. Many told NBC5 News the line can sometimes be about two hours long nothing like it was in the early afternoon. There were about two cars at a time. It’s the only filling station in Jackson County where people can pop in some quarters and get a large amount of water.
“I’ve heard all the stories, I’ve seen rigs here with no tags on it whatsoever,” said Jim McDonald has lived in the Rogue Valley since the 1970s.
He and many others are worried about this extreme drought. He said some of this water may be going toward illegal marijuana use and possibly even grows in Siskiyou County. That’s where the County created a new law this spring that prevents water trucks larger than 100-gallons from going on a few select roads. The county said it’s designed to curtail illegal marijuana growth.
“We don’t know what it’s being used for, but at the same time they are purchasing it,” said Brad Taylor, General Manager of the Medford Water Commission.
People pay one quarter and get about 200 gallons of water. He doesn’t know if people are coming to the Rogue Valley and taking water away. Even if it were happening he doubts it’s a profitable venture.
“They’re expensive to haul, so I think that’s probably the limiting factor in terms of the viability of taking it too far out of the area,” said Taylor.
The Medford Water Commission is already asking people to conserve water in this drought. As this scorching summer unfolds that may mean the Medford Water Commission changes that request to a rule mandating less water at this fill station. But the agency told NBC5 News water levels aren’t inadequately low.