Aug 9, 2012 / 5:00 pm
Nancy Bath and her family are praying for rain.
Photo: Wayne Moore - Castanet
Vandals have hit the irrigation system in the family's East Kelowna orchard not once -- not twice -- but three times over the last three weeks.
Bath says the latest incident Monday night threatens to wipe out approximately $100,000 worth of fruit left to be picked.
Not only did they tear apart the water main, Bath says they also broke each bulb that allows water to go into the 17 acre orchard.
"We have no water to go to our orchard. It's going to cost us between $15,000 and $20,000 to get it fixed and maybe two weeks to get the work done," says Bath.
"In that time we will have no water for 17 acres of fruit."
On top of that, Bath says crop insurance does not cover vandalism and there are no government programs in place to help with this type of problem.
"We don't know what the loss is going to be. Our crop is going to be without water and we are in full production right now.
Bath says they are in the midst of cherry and peach production. The orchard also grows apricots, apples, plums and pears.
She says vandals hit the irrigation system the previous two weeks leaving the property flooded on both occasions.
"The first two were fixable, but no big deal," says Bath.
"This is the one that is literally going to cost us our crop, until we get the water up and running."
Bath says the insurance adjuster told her they are not alone.
"They told us 'a gang' has been going around and doing this. They target one or two people and, until they are done, keep destroying that property."
They are looking into fencing the property and erecting security cameras.
Police are also investigating.
During the latest attack, Bath says, their fruit stand was also destroyed.
"The equipment we had in our fruit stand was all over the road. We had boxes of cherries in the fruit stand and they were all over the road too."
Along with the potential loss to their crop, Bath says prices for cherries have not been what they have been in past years.
"On top of all this we are getting $.40 a pound for cherries. That's very low. It's usually well over a dollar".
"We pay our pickers $.35 a pound."
If anyone witnessed anything contact Crime Stoppers at their website or call 1-800-222-8477.
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