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California water district faces $1.5 million fine for taking water during the drought




In this photo taken Monday, May 18, 2015, a tractor tills the dry land on the acreage  farmed by Gino Celli, near Stockton, Calif. Celli, who farms 1,500 acres of land and manages another 7,000 acres, has senior water rights and draws irrigation water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.  Farmers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta who have California's oldest water rights are proposing to voluntarily cut their use by 25 percent to avoid the possibility of even harsher restrictions by the state later this summer as the record drought continues. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
In this photo taken Monday, May 18, 2015, a tractor tills the dry land on the acreage farmed by Gino Celli, near Stockton, Calif. Celli, who farms 1,500 acres of land and manages another 7,000 acres, has senior water rights and draws irrigation water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. Farmers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta who have California's oldest water rights are proposing to voluntarily cut their use by 25 percent to avoid the possibility of even harsher restrictions by the state later this summer as the record drought continues. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Rich Pedroncelli/AP

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The State Water Resources Control Board is proposing a first of its kind fine for taking water during a drought.

The culprit is the Bryon-Bethany Irrigation District, located in California’s Central Valley. The district, which serves three counties as well as 12,000 community members is accused of illegally taking water from a pumping plant after getting a warning that there was not enough water. 

The proposed $1.5 million fine is not the district's first run in with the state, the district has sued the state in the past over water cuts.  Dale Kasler, Reporter for the Sacramento Bee joins us to discuss why this fine is so large.