FILE - This March 21, 2012 file photo Actor Tom Selleck poses for a portrait in New York. A lawsuit accuses Selleck of stealing truckloads of water from a public hydrant and bringing it to his Southern California ranch. The suit filed Monday, July 6, 2015 by a Ventura County water district claims that on more than a dozen occasions a truck filled up at a hydrant and hauled the water to Selleck’s 60-acre spread in Westlake Village. (AP Photo/Carlo Allegri, File) Image Credit: AP

Actor Tom Selleck is accused by a California agency of unlawfully taking water from a public hydrant to supply his ranch as the state grapples with a devastating drought, court papers showed on Wednesday.

The Calleguas Municipal Water District submitted a complaint on Monday in Ventura County Superior Court against the star of 1980s television series Magnum, P.I. and police show Blue Bloods, which airs on CBS.

The complaint comes as California deals with a devastating four-year drought that has damaged the state’s multi-billion dollar agriculture industry. State officials have imposed mandatory cutbacks of 25 per cent on average for cities and towns.

The complaint said the water district spent nearly $22,000 (Dh80,000) to hire a private investigator and discovered that several times between 2013 and 2015, a water-tender truck pulled up at a hydrant in the town of Thousand Oaks in Southern California and filled up on water to deliver to Selleck’s nearby ranch.

Most recently, on four consecutive days in March, the same truck was seen taking water from the hydrant and transporting it to Selleck’s property, according to the complaint.

The water district’s complaint is seeking a court injunction to prevent Selleck from taking water from the hydrant, which is located in a different area than the water district that serves the location of the actor’s ranch.

The Calleguas Municipal Water District in November 2013 sent a cease-and-desist order to Selleck, warning it would take legal action against the actor if the water deliveries did not stop.