Four men have been arrested on suspicion of slashing an inflatable dam with knives, letting out nearly 50 million gallons of water in drought-hit California, officials said on Wednesday.
The men, in their teens and early 20s, were accused of causing about $1 million damage to the barrier near Fremont, releasing a deluge into Alameda Creek, which flows into the San Francisco Bay.
The loss comes as California endures a devastating drought that has prompted Governor Jerry Brown to impose the state’s first-ever mandatory cutbacks in urban water use.
The water would have been enough to serve 500 homes in Fremont and surrounding communities for one year, police said.
There was no immediate comment from the men, their lawyers or details on what may have motivated the attack.
The four suspects were each facing a charge of felony vandalism in connection with the May 21 incident in Alameda County, police said.
The men named as Dylan Jeffery, 21, Drake Elkhouri, 21, Gavin Palmon, 19, and Zackory Morton, 20, were arrested last week and all live a short distance from the dam site, the police statement said.