California celebrities push water usage limits amid drought

Calabasas City in Los Angeles County is a popular home for celebrities. Alex Potemkin / E+ / Getty Images

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Celebrities, including Kim Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Sylvester Stallone, Kevin Hart and Dwyane Wade, are pushing the boundaries on water usage in Southern California amid an ongoing drought.

Over 2,000 customers have recently been issued “excess notices” by the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, meaning these customers have used over 150% of their monthly water usage limit at least four times since the end of the year 2021, the Los Angeles Times reported. Customers who have been issued with these notices may now be faced with the installation of water flow limiting devices on their properties, which can reduce heavy water flows to just one trickle.

In June 2022, the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District implemented “Stage 3” water restrictions, limiting customers to outdoor watering once a week. But some customers exceeded their monthly water budget in June by over 1,400%.

In May, Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union’s property exceeded water limits more than any other client with more than 489,000 gallons of water, according to the Los Angeles Times, but attributed it to pool issues. The property exceeded limits in June by 90,000 gallons of water.

Sylvester Stallone’s property has exceeded its monthly water budget by 533%, an increase compared to May before “Phase 3” water restrictions were implemented. Stallone’s attorney told the Los Angeles Times that the property’s mature trees were in danger of dying and falling onto neighboring properties without enough water.

“For celebrities, musicians or athletes who all live in the area, the monetary penalties will be meaningless to them because it doesn’t matter,” Mike McNutt, a spokesman for the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, told NPR. “They have a lot of money and if they want to, they can spend $5,000 a month on a water bill.”

As a result, they can now face the installation of a water flow limiting device that reduces watering by up to 70%. Water conservation measures are essential, as the area relies entirely on water imported from some 400 miles away in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

McNutt noted that there have been some improvements in consumer water use compared to previous droughts. In June 2021, Las Virgenes residents used about 261 gallons of water per person per day, which decreased to 170 gallons per person per day by June 2022.

But still, many celebrities, Hollywood executives, lawyers and doctors who live in this area of ​​Los Angeles County are using much more water than the average person. McNutt hopes those with influence will set a better example of water conservation in California.

“People listen to you, people watch you, people appreciate what you do… We need you to step up to the plate, be examples and be leaders so that other people will follow,” he said. “That’s the most critical thing anyone in that group, or who has those resources, can do to influence and help with other people’s behavior modifications.”

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