Pulling the plug a serious offense
A vandal didn’t do serious damage after pulling the plug to Harvey Gap reservoir last month, but the Garfield County sheriff is taking a hard-line approach with the incident. A vandal didn’t do serious damage after pulling the plug to Harvey Gap reservoir last month, but the Garfield County sheriff is taking a hard-line approach with the incident. “We’re kind of treating it as eco-terrorism,” said Sheriff Lou Vallario, because the vandal left the graffiti message “Save the Gap.” The vandal released about 50 acre feet of water. The only reported damage was to irrigation ditches, but the potential for injury or agricultural loss was “huge,” said Vallario. The sheriff’s office has notified the FBI.After 9/11, media and government officials identified risks and figuring out what could be done to protect resources. Garfield County took part in that process, and the sheriff’s office has a list of vulnerable targets and an outline of what to do if something happens, Vallario said.The vandal cut through chains to open the reservoir’s release valve about 11 p.m. Jan. 23, and between 60-70 cubic feet per second of water flowed until about 6 a.m. Jan. 24, said Scott Dodero, manager of the Silt Water Conservancy District, which controls Harvey Gap.The damage to farm and ranch water supplies was “minimal,” Dodero said. Harvey Gap’s capacity is 5,800 acre-feet of water, and about a day’s worth of water was lost, he said. The Silt Water Conservancy District and the Farmer’s Irrigation Co., which owns the reservoir, are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of responsible parties. Anyone with information regarding this crime is urged to contact the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office at 945-0453.Anyone with information regarding this crime is urged to contact the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office at 945-0453.
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