Opening your water bill to find that it has skyrocketed can definitely come as a shock, especially if you know that you haven’t used that much water. Your sneaky neighbor might even be the culprit. Can your neighbor steal your water without you knowing it though?
It is very possible that a neighbor could be stealing water from you. Stealing water is considered utility theft and could be costing you thousands of dollars in overpaid water bills. You should contact your local water company and the police if this is happening to you.
Stealing water is a very sneaky and underhanded thing to do, especially when it’s a neighbor that you trust. In this blog post, we’ve compiled the various ways your neighbor could be stealing water from you, as well as what you can do to stop them in their tracks.
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Here’s a Quick Pro Tip!
One easy and smart way to find out if your neighbor is stealing water from you is to set up outdoor security cameras.
If your neighbor is stealing water from you, this will catch them in the act (and also deter them from trying this in the first place).
You can also buy spigot locks to put on your outdoor taps. This will prevent anyone from attaching a hose to your taps.
Is It Possible for Neighbors To Steal Water?
Unfortunately, it is possible for your neighbors to steal water from you. The most common way for someone to do this is by “borrowing” your hose to wash their car, the sides of their house, or to water their garden. More rarely, your neighbor could tap into your water line and steal your water directly from the water main.
Tapping into your neighbor’s water line is pretty rare since it takes quite a bit of work and is not something that can be done discreetly.
Your neighbor would have to shovel down to your water main and rearrange pipes in order to steal your water. The most ideal time for them to do this is if there is construction happening that exposes the water lines.
However, there is another strategy that your neighbor could be using. It’s possible that they have a hose attached to your outside tap which runs to their outside tap.
This will supply their house with water from your house. Neighbors will be more encouraged to use this strategy when you are out of town so there isn’t a chance that you will notice the hose connecting the two houses.
How Can I Stop My Neighbors From Stealing Water?
Here are a few methods that you can use to stop your neighbors from stealing your water:
- You first need to find out where they are stealing the water from.
- Check any outside taps on the side of your house for any hoses.
- If you do have hoses hooked up, take them off and put them inside.
- You should then set up security cameras faced towards all areas where your neighbor could potentially be stealing your water.
- If they are hooking up their own hose to your taps, then you will be able to catch this on camera.
- If all else fails, then you will have to call your water provider to have them look into the situation.
Stealing water is a very sneaky thing. Your neighbor will have to be very discreet in order to get away with this.
But, let’s be honest, there are parts of your yard that you rarely visit which could be the perfect target for your neighbors.
If you notice your water bill is higher than normal, do a thorough inspection of your water taps to make sure there aren’t any hoses attached.
If after you have set up security cameras and are keeping an eye on your taps and you suspect your neighbors are still stealing your water, then you should call your water company to inspect the situation.
They will be able to check out the water lines to make sure all the lines are leading to the correct house.
You might also enjoy our post on Can Your Neighbor Steal Your Electricity?
How To Stop Someone From Stealing Your Water
To stop someone from stealing your water you can install safety security cameras, ask your neighbors to check on your yard when you are out of town, and even install locks to put on your outdoor spigots.
Installing security cameras around your house will help you quickly catch someone who is stealing your water. Be sure to place these cameras around any outdoor taps that you have.
Additionally, if you are planning on being out of town for at least a week, you can ask a trusted neighbor to check on your yard and keep an eye out for anything suspicious.
Lastly, you can install outdoor spigot locks on all of your outdoor taps. This way no one can attach a hose to your spigots.
What Can I Buy To Stop Water Theft?
To stop water theft, you can buy locks to place on your outdoor spigots and security cameras. The locks will prevent anyone from attaching a hose to your taps which they will then steal your water from. You can also install security cameras to keep a close eye on your yard.
Spigot locks are one of the most preventable ways to keep your water only yours.
It will come as quite a shock to a water thief to realize that they can’t even access your water line without digging through your yard- which most people aren’t willing to do.
Outdoor Security cameras will also scare them off and give you the access to constantly keep an eye on your yard.
Can I Sue My Neighbor for Stealing Water?
You absolutely can sue your neighbor for stealing your water. Stealing water, depending on where you live, is considered water theft or utility theft. If your neighbor was a highly-skilled water thief, then you may have overpaid your water bills by thousands of dollars which you would want to have returned.
Stealing water is a crime in every state in the United States. When you report your neighbor to the authorities they can be charged with a felony, depending on the amount of water they stole.
You can also take them to a small claims court to be compensated for the amount of money you lost.
Can Water Really Be Stolen?
There are several ways that water can be stolen. The most innocent way is when someone attaches a hose to their neighbor’s tap and uses the neighbor’s water to wash their car, house, or water their garden. On the more extreme side, water can be stolen when someone tampers with your water line and redirects your water to their house.
Stealing water is really not something a lot of people think about but water theft is, unfortunately, becoming more common especially in areas that are experiencing more severe droughts, such as California.
If you believe someone is stealing your water, contact your water provider and ask them to look into the situation.
How To Tell if Someone Is Stealing Your Water
The most efficient way to tell if someone is stealing your water is to, first, compare your bills from previous months. If you notice your water bill suddenly jumped one month – even when your habits didn’t change – this is a strong indication. Secondly, turn off your water valves for a day and then check if your meter went up. Lastly, you can ask your water provider to look into the situation.
If you think that someone is stealing your water then you are probably right. Your water bill doesn’t just suddenly increase out of nowhere, especially when you haven’t increased your water usage.
Following those steps should give you confidence that someone is, indeed, stealing your water. However, if you aren’t entirely sure and are nervous to accuse someone without solid evidence, then you can contact your water provider and have them look into it.
They will know exactly what to look for and will be able to point out anything that is suspicious.
Am I Paying for My Neighbor’s Water?
You may be, unfortunately, paying for your neighbor’s water if they have found a way to steal from you. If you suspect that your neighbor is stealing your water, then you could be paying thousands of extra dollars to supply your neighbor with stolen water. It is crucial that you get to the bottom of the situation before your bills skyrocket even more.
A high water bill can really catch you off guard, especially when you can’t pinpoint anything that may have caused it.
Although many people don’t know how to steal water, some do, and those people could be your neighbors. It’s a cruel thing to do but very possible.
You might also enjoy our post on What to Do if Your Neighbor Steals Your Packages
Can Someone Tap Into Your Waterline?
Although rare, it is possible for someone to tap into your waterline. Waterlines are generally one to two feet below the ground. Whoever is tapping into your waterline will typically do it when you are away so you don’t notice them shoveling a hole in your yard.
This is why many people notice their water bills have increased once they return home from a vacation or any reason that keeps them away from their house for more than a week.
During this time, your neighbor has the perfect opportunity to access your waterline and reroute your water to their house.
My Neighbor Tapped Into My Water Supply
A neighbor who was tapped into your water supply is committing a crime. Water theft is punishable in all states in the United States. You should first confront your neighbor and ask them directly if they have been stealing your water. If they confess, then you can go from there. If they don’t, then you will have to contact the authorities.
Once you notice that your neighbor tapped into your water supply, your first course of action is to confront them. Try to engage in casual neighborly chatter to soften the bomb you are about to drop.
Once you let them know that you know they are stealing your water, educate them on how this is affecting you, financially and emotionally. If they are receptive and understanding of your concerns, you can negotiate how they will pay you back.
If the confrontation doesn’t go so smoothly, then you will have to contact the authorities. First, contact your water provider to let them know of the situation and then the police. You will have to file a police report and then the police will begin an investigation.
Water Pressure Affected by Neighbors
If you have noticed that your water pressure is weaker than usual, it’s possible that your neighbors are to blame. Unfortunately, there are ways that your neighbors can hijack your water supply and steal your water, as cruel as that may seem.
Your neighbors can hijack your water supply in a couple different ways which will directly affect your water pressure.
They can be using a hose from your tap to use your water for various outdoor activities, or worse, have a hose attached to your house to completely supply water to their whole home.
On the more extreme side, your neighbor could have tapped into your waterline without you knowing. If you notice your water pressure is constantly low, then this could be the reason.
What To Do if Someone Is Stealing Water
Confronting who you think is stealing your water is the first step you should take to justice. Depending on the outcome, you can then contact your water provider and then the police, since water theft is a crime.
If you know who is stealing your water, then you should confront them about it as soon as you can. Do so in a calm manner without being too confrontational.
You want to build a friendly conversation before you drop the bomb so there is a better chance that they will feel guilty and tell you the truth.
If the person confesses, then you can negotiate what happens next. Regardless of what the consequences may be, they definitely need to stop stealing your water. You should also definitely ask them to reimburse you for the amount of money they stole from you.
If things become complicated, for example, if they deny they are stealing your water or refuse to reimburse you, then you should contact the police.
This may seem extreme but what they are doing is a crime and this may be your only way to make up for your lost money.
Stealing Water From Mains
To steal water from a main is not a common or easy task since this involves digging into the ground at least two feet and using a special tool to rearrange pipes. It is a lot harder than it sounds. It is also illegal. You can have someone charged if you think they are stealing water from your water main.
Water mains run throughout neighborhoods to supply houses with water from the main water supply. Stealing from a water main that is not designated for your house is a crime.
If you suspect that someone is stealing from your water main, you should confront them about it and or contact the police.
How To Tap Into a Water Line
To first tap into a water line, you have to locate the easiest spot to access the pipes- this is usually close to the water meter. Once you access this point, cut the supply point. Attach a spigot to the pipe. Attach the other end of the pipe to the opposite end of the spigot. At the top of the spigot, attach a hose. Attach the other end of the hose to a tap on the side of your house.
If you suspect that your neighbor has tapped into your water line, it would be wise to contact your water provider. They will know exactly where to look to find out if your water line has been tampered with.
Although it seems difficult to tap into a water line, it is possible, and your neighbor may have tapped into yours.
Is It Illegal To Use Someone Else’s Water?
It is indeed illegal to use someone else’s water- that is considered water theft. Water theft is punishable in all states in America with possible jail time and steep fines. If you suspect someone is using your water, you have every right to contact the police.
If you know someone is using your water, you can contact the police and file a police report. They will open an investigation to figure out who is stealing your water and possibly determine how long they have been stealing from you.
It is possible that you can take whoever is stealing your water to a small claims court to get reimbursed for the money you lost.
What Happens if You Get Caught Stealing Water?
If you get caught stealing water, you may be in for some unfortunate news. Stealing water is considered a crime in every state in America. As a first offender, you will likely face a fine anywhere from $500 – $1000. Depending on the extent of the offense, fines can increase.
The extent of your punishment will depend on how much water is stolen and where you live. On the low side, you can face a fine of $500 with no jail time. This fine will increase with each offense. On the highest side, you can be fined $10,000 and spend up to three years in jail.
Illegal Tapping of Water
Tapping into a water supply system is illegal. If you suspect that your water main has been tapped into you should contact the police as soon as you can- you may be overpaying your water bills by thousands of dollars while your neighbor is having extra money to spend.
Although this may seem like a cruel and unusual thing to do, stealing someone’s water is becoming increasingly more common. If you suspect you are a victim of illegal water tapping, you should contact your water provider and the police.
They will be able to investigate the matter more thoroughly and get your water bills back to normal.
Water Theft Detection
There are a few ways to detect someone is stealing your water. The first indicator is a high water bill. Compare this bill against previous bills to determine if the jump is really significant with no apparent reason. You can also turn off your water supply for a day to see if the meter changes.
Lastly, if you still cannot pinpoint exactly why your water bill is so high, you may have to call your water provider or a plumber to have them look into the situation.
They will likely have dealt with a situation like this in the past and will know exactly what to look for.
How To Report Someone Stealing Water
Calling your water provider and the police is the best way to report someone who is stealing your water. The police will ask you to fill out a police report and your water provider will be able to confirm that your water is being stolen.
Your water provider will be the company who sends you your water bills, in case you are wondering. You can quickly Google their number to get a hold of them.
It is also possible that you can fill out a report on their website, depending on the company. It is very important to report water theft since it is a crime and it could help you recover all of your lost money.
How To Detect Illegal Water Connections
If you believe that someone is illegally connecting to your water supply, you can start by comparing your suspicious water bill with previous bills. If you can not identify a reason for the increased water usage, then this is a great indication that your water may be being stolen.
In addition to that, you can plan to turn off your water supply for a day, or two if you can handle that, and check to see if your water meter was affected.
If your meter shows movement then this is another good indication of water theft. You can then ask your water provider to look more deeply into the situation to finalize your suspicions.
How Do I Report Water Theft
Reporting water theft is crucial so you have a better chance of having your money returned. To report water theft, contact your water provider and the police. The water provider will need to be able to cut off your neighbor from your supply and the police will be responsible for charging the perpetrator.
Water theft is serious as it can result in your water bills being at least doubled. It’s also possible that your water has been being stolen for years, so, the sooner you can get your water bills back to normal, the better.
How To Report Utility Theft
To report utility theft, contact your utility provider, whether that’s electricity or water. Then, contact the police as utility theft is a crime. Explain to both of them that you believe someone is stealing your water. Make sure you do your due diligence before calling as they may ask for reasons why you think your water is being stolen.
Water theft not only affects the person overpaying for their usage, but it also costs the water provider. It’s likely that the line that was tampered with is leaking, resulting in wasted water.
This can also increase the chances of the line completely bursting which will create a flood and yard damage.
Penalty for Stealing Water
The penalty for stealing water depends on how much water was stolen and where you live. On the low side, someone can be fined $500 with no jail time. On the highest side, someone can face a fine of $10,000 and up to three years in jail.
This all depends on the amount of water that was stolen and if any damage was done to the water lines and the surrounding property. It is up to the discretion of the courts to decide how harsh the fine will be.
You can also demand financial compensation for the amount of money you lost and the amount of damage that was done to your yard.
Speaking of yards, has your neighbor stopped mowing his lawn? Check out our blog post on what to do if your neighbor won’t mow their lawn!
Can You Refuse To Pay for Water That Was Stolen?
You can absolutely refuse to pay for water that was stolen but that doesn’t mean you’ll be let off the hook. In fact, it may even get you in more trouble to not take responsibility for the stolen money.
If you refuse to pay for water that you stole, you may be taken to a small claims court. If there is absolute proof that you stole the water, then it’s likely that you will definitely have to pay back the water that you stole and you may even face steeper fines.
Are You Liable for Water That Was Stolen?
If you get caught stealing water, you are absolutely liable for that water, especially if you are taken to court. If you want to avoid the legal system, it’s best to pay whoever you stole from to make up for your poor actions.
Being hit with a high water bill comes as quite a shock for many people, especially when they can’t pinpoint exactly what might have caused it. If you got caught stealing water, then you better pay up.
If you don’t want to, you will end up having to in the end when you are taken to court and will likely, also, face fines.
Having someone steal your water is really not cool. The high bill can shock you and even throw off the rest of your month, financially. If you suspect that someone is stealing your water, look into it more deeply.
Your water provider and the police will help you get to the bottom of it and catch that sneaky water thief you have on your hands.