fighters promote ‘Smart Water’ to combat ag
By JOHN MILLER & BEVERLY BARELA
March 1, 2018
from across the county gathered Monday at the fairgrounds
in Merced to learn about a new method to protect their equipment
from thieves in rural areas.
to members of the Farm Bureau, the new technology —
marketed as "SmartWater" — will assist law
enforcement in combating rural theft by marking agricultural
equipment with a colorless, chemically coded solution that
fluoresces under a special light.
bottle of SmartWater carries its own unique chemical code
that is registered to a certain person, allowing items to
be traced back to the registered owner and serving as proof
the presentation, representatives from SmartWater CSI were
on hand to demonstrate the use of the product and answer
questions regarding its use to deter theft and apprehend
those who steal equipment. The solution can be used to mark
anything from agricultural assets like tractors and trailers,
to farm tools, electronics and personal possessions.
Attorney Larry Morse explained that the technology is being
offered free of charge to members of the Farm Bureau by
way of a grant. Personnel from the Sheriff’s Department
and District Attorney’s office will be on hand to
register those who wish to sign up as SmartWater users.
is an important new tool that will assist law enforcement
in the arrest and prosecution of thieves targeting folks
in our rural communities,” Sheriff Vern Warnke said.
County is now the second county in California to bring the
SmartWater technology to members of its agricultural community.
A single bottle of SmartWater retails at $42, and with only
a small amount needed to mark an item, the product can be
used to mark hundreds of high dollar value items. Additionally,
once marked, the compound will continue to fluoresce for
a five-year minimum, and remain chemically traceable much
longer, even in instances of fire or other destruction or
attempts to remove it. This allows for items to be tracked
from anywhere they may make their way to, and their identification
just a matter of time.
located and identified, registration information is then
pulled to contact the items rightful owner. SmartWater can
be place on a range of materials, including metal, plastic,
wood, glass, jewelry and more.
County Supervisor Lloyd Pareira can’t wait to put
SmartWater on his farm equipment at his rural property in
signed up to be a participant, and I plan to protect my
equipment with SmartWater, and that way if it’s ever
stolen, I’ll get it back,” he said. “I
own a cattle trailer that I’ll put it on, and I can
use it on a dump trailer that has hydraulics which hauls
gravel, sand or trash, a water pump and a generator. I can
also put it on a Kubota RTV, something that a lot of farmers
use for doing chores on the farm."
the program’s benefits, he said, "Criminals are
notorious for eliminating serial numbers off equipment.
If I have my SmartWater on my cattle trailer and they steal
it and that person gets pulled over, law enforcement can
use a special UV light. It’s possible criminals could
use a grinder and get the SmartWater off the equipment,
but then it would be on the grinder or on their clothes."
how it works, Pareira said, "Law enforcement shines
a light on the equipment that’s stolen, and it illuminates
and they can scratch off a piece of SmartWater the size
of a pinhead and send it off to the lab, and the lab will
say who the owner is. The SmartWater looks like milky water
when it’s wet. Once you put it on the equipment and
it dries, you can’t see it with the naked eye. But
when you shine the light on it, it illuminates it and it
looks fluorescent green."
said, "If you own equipment that is pretty generic
looking, it’s hard to prove it is yours. But if you
see your equipment in someone’s possession, you can
call the Sheriff."
SmartWater program has been implemented in Tulare County,
according to Pareira.
said, "Rural ag crimes are down by double digits the
last couple of years in Tulare County, and the farmers attribute
that in part to SmartWater. When you put SmartWater signs
up at your place with the Sheriff’s and the District
Attorney’s logos, criminals are less likely to go
to those properties. I think in the future, criminals will
just stay away from areas with SmartWater use."