Most agencies handle encroachment involving existing violations on an individual basis. In this case, trees were removed that were encroaching on a San Diego County Water Authority aqueduct. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority
Landscaped yards might appear harmless, but sometimes homeowners unknowingly encroach upon public land, making it difficult for workers to access underground utilities. Photo: DUDEK
Taking precaution

Agencies guard information in the name of homeland security.

While defining boundaries to prevent encroachments is important, marking or publicizing the exact locations of oil, natural gas, water, and utility rights of way is a sensitive subject.

“In this post-Sept. 11 environment, just how much information do we give out to the public?” says Fred Clark, a member of the International Right of Way Association's pipeline committee and principal right of way manager for Dudek, an engineering firm based in Encinitas, Calif.

The San Diego County Water Authority, as one example, is cautious with its information.

It no longer provides data regarding the location of its aqueducts to the company that publishes detailed maps of streets, highways, and landmarks. The agency also has removed related information from its own Web site.

Boundary information is shared only with those actively involved in a development in the area of the pipelines.

“It's an abundance of caution,” says William Rose, the authority's director of right of way, “but the system is set up so those who need to know, can know.”