Town Supervisor: ‘Murray does not let farmers steal water’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 August 2016 at 2:13 am

This photo has been shared on Facebook and claims to be proof that a farmer was stealing water from the Town of Murray. Murray officials said that isn’t true.

MURRAY – Town Supervisor John Morriss has seen the posts on social media that show a farm field being irrigated with water from a fire hose connected to a hydrant on Fancher Road.

The posts on Facebook ask if a farmer is stealing water.

“There are accusations being made against the Town of Murray,” Morriss said at tonight’s Association of Municipalities, which includes town, county and village officials in Orleans County. “Murray does not let farmers steal water.”

Lloyd Christ, a Murray town councilman, attended the Association of Municipalities meeting today. Christ is the one who connected the fire hose at the hydrant. Christ said the hose had a water meter in it, about 150 feet from the hydrant. The meter isn’t visible in the picture on Facebook because Christ said the meter, with a backflow device, was at the end of the hose.

That hose was then linked with steel piping for Christ’s irrigation equipment. He said he borrowed the fire hose from another farmer.

Murray officials said it is common practice for farmers to use water from hydrants during a drought. The farmers get meters from the Highway Department, and the water usage is measured and then billed.

Christ said he started irrigating about two weeks ago and did for a few days. He needed the water or he likely would have lost his cabbage crop. He was irrigating a field on Fancher Road near East Transit Church Road.

Many farmers will irrigate using water from canal, but Christ said his cabbage field was too far from the canal. Christ said it will cost him about $100 per acre to irrigate the field.

Paul Hendel, a town councilman, said Christ has been unfairly “smeared” with the posts on Facebook. The state police were called to investigate if water had been stolen, and Hendel said troopers found no wrongdoing.