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What's a nudist resort without a pool, and what's a pool without water?
Glyn Stout and his wife Lori Kay Stout, owners of a California nudist resort, have been arrested for stealing water from a nearby creek to supplement their water supply during the state's long standing drought. If convicted, each defendant could face up to three years in prison.
Glyn and Lori own and operate Lupin Lodge in Near Los Gatos, California. The lodge neighbors the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District's (MROSD) property on which a waterfall and creek is located.
Glyn and Lori allegedly trespassed onto MROSD, cleared an old fire trail, and installed plastic tubing to divert water from a waterfall back to their resort. The Stouts claim that they need the water to keep their water tank and swimming pool full in case of fire. The two also argue that they have a right to use the water because the land's previous owner gave them permission to do so.
MROSD's president Pete Siemens argues that the Stouts' actions harmed local wildlife which desperately needed the water. Additionally, the Stouts allegedly cleared an old fire trail causing significant environmental damage.
The Stouts and two other employees were charged with felony conspiracy to commit trespassing for the purpose of injuring a property right and misdemeanor trespassing, substantially diverting water, operating a motorized vehicle on MROSD property, trespassing by driving a vehicle on a closed property, and performing maintenance of clearance on MROSD property.
Water rights is a complex and contentious legal area in California. Many other states also have very complex water rights laws.
Even though water falls from the sky, you can't just take and use any water anywhere. Often the right to use water is tied to property rights. For example, a river goes through your neighbor's land. Your neighbor has the right to use water from that river, but you do not.
Suffice to say, the Stouts shouldn't have trespassed onto land that wasn't theirs to take water they didn't have rights to -- especially during California's epic drought when water conservation is on everyone's mind.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.