Dennis Falaschi charged in multi-million dollar scheme as records show he wasn’t only one to take water from California’s farm region

A former California water official has pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal water in a deal with federal prosecutors in the state’s crop-rich central valley.

The Los Angeles Times reports Tuesday that 78-year-old Dennis Falaschi, who used to head the Panoche water district, entered the plea in federal court in Fresno. He also pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return.

Falaschi was accused in a case that alleged that more than $25m in water was stolen over two decades when it was siphoned from a federal irrigation canal through a secret pipe and sold to farmers and other water districts. The Panoche water district supplies irrigation for farmland in Fresno and Merced counties – much of it from the federal Delta-Mendota canal.

Authorities said in court documents that Falaschi wasn’t the only one taking water, but did not specify who else was involved. They estimated Falaschi stole less than $3.5m in water, a small portion of what they initially alleged had been stolen.

  • Riskable
    442 months ago

    Welcome to the future! I believe this is how the next world war starts?

    • Flying Squid
      92 months ago

      Adam was dust until God injected him with life. And do you know what was in that injection? Water. Water is life. Water is power.

      – Kesslee, Tank Girl

    • @disguy_ovahea
      72 months ago

      That’ll happen if Trump wins in November and pulls support from Ukraine and NATO allies in the name of isolationism.

      Water theft during drought is some dystopian post-apocalyptic shit.

  • @QuincyPeck
    162 months ago

    Been thinking a lot lately about Ridley’s quote in Aliens: “You don’t see them fucking each over for a goddamn percentage.”

    We’re so doomed as a species.

  • Ghostface
    32 months ago

    The US has pipes to push oil from Canada to Texas, but has not invested in shipping water from sunken states to dryer states?

    • brianorca
      2 months ago

      The Rockies stand in the way, and the energy cost of pushing water over them likely exceeds the going price of water. We do have lots of water pipes west of the Rockies, but no way to economically get water from the Mississippi.

      Also, oil is worth a lot more per gallon than water, and used in smaller quantities, which is why oil pipes are economical.

      I expect desalination to become mainstream before we push much water across the Rockies.