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Liquid Courage

As the drought worsens, fire hydrants are becoming a target of water thieves, particularly in parched swaths of the East Bay. Construction crews and contractors have been caught tapping hydrants for illegal use—in one case, to fill swimming pools—and in Modesto, six homeowners were fined for stealing water from a canal. Next month Contra Costa Water District officials will consider raising water-theft penalties tenfold, from $25 to $250, with higher fines for repeat offenses. [SFGate]