News Releases

Photograph, Report Potential Water Theft

Friday, June 4, 2021
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Individuals or businesses who pay the town to use water from a hydrant use an orange meter box.

Updated June 5 at 8:53 a.m. to provide clarification in the photo caption.

If you see a person or business taking water from a water hydrant without an orange meter box, please call 911 to report it.

“Reporting a false alarm is better than letting folks compromise the system,” Hillsborough Utilities Director Marie Strandwitz said. “Without such details or your help, the town has little recourse or proof to prosecute civilly or criminally and keep our system safe.”

If it’s safe for you to do so discreetly, also take a photo and note some information to help the Town of Hillsborough prosecute the case. Details including the time, date, location, name on the truck, truck number and license plate are helpful. Please do not directly confront the person taking water.

Individuals or businesses who are paying the Town of Hillsborough for water from a hydrant use an orange meter box like the one pictured.

Water theft can cause safety and operational concerns for the public water system including:

  • Water hammer in the system that breaks pipes and damages equipment.
  • Lowered water pressure for customers during the time of theft.
  • Contaminants entering the public water system, causing a public health issue.
  • Costs associated with repairing damage to the system.

Photos and information can be submitted to the Hillsborough Police Department or Orange County Sheriff’s Office. Or send an email to the Hillsborough Utilities Department.

If you are not comfortable calling law enforcement about suspected water theft, you may call the Water Treatment Plant day or night at 919-732-3621.