Last year, the municipal water district of Las Virgenes in southern California declared a drought emergency.
More than 2,000 residents have exceeded the district’s water budget by 150% since then, the LA Times reported.
Some local celebrities, however, went over their budget by more than 500%.
Comedian Kevin Hart, two of the Kardashian sisters, actor Sylvester Stallone and NBA player Dwayne Wade were among the biggest violators of their local water restrictions in Southern California as the state experiences its third drought year, according to The Los Angeles Times.
The Municipal Water District of Las Virgenes, which serves affluent towns in the San Fernando Valley including Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Hidden Hills, Westlake Village and unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, issued “Notices overrun” to more than 2,000 customers, The LA Times reported based on records obtained from the water supplier.
As of Dec. 1, 2021, residents receive this notice when they use more than 150% of their water budget more than four times, Mike McNutt, a spokesperson for the water district, told Insider.
But some of the celebrities accused of breaking water restrictions went over budget by more than 500%.
A 26-acre Calabasas property listed under Hart went over budget by 519% or 117,000 gallons in June.
Two Hidden Hills properties associated with Kim Kardashian went over budget by about 230,000 gallons, while a 1.86-acre property near Calabasas owned by Kourtney Kardashian went over budget by about 101,000 gallons.
A Kardashian spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.
A property in Hidden Hills listed under Wade and his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, recorded water usage that topped all customers in May, with 489,000 gallons. In June, the property used 90,000 gallons, exceeding the water budget by 1,400%.
In a statement to the LA Times, the couple said the usage was caused by an issue with their pool and they were actively working to remedy the situation.
“We have done everything we can to rectify the situation and will continue to do everything we can to resolve the issue,” the couple told the LA Times. “We have replaced all parts of our pool system that (have) to do with water flow and leaks in addition to converting to synthetic grass and drought resistant plants to reduce our water usage. We will continue to work with the city and the water company to make sure this is not an issue in the future.”
A 2.26-acre property in Hidden Hills owned by Stallone and his wife, Jennifer Flavin, went over budget by 544% or 230,000 gallons. This was an increase from May with around 195,000 gallons, the LA Times reported.
Stallone’s attorney, Marty Singer, told the LA Times that the numbers “misrepresent and distort the situation regarding water use on my client’s property.” Singer pointed to the “500 mature trees” on the property that could die if not properly watered.
“My client has tackled the situation responsibly and proactively. They have let the grasses die and other areas are being watered by a drip irrigation system. They have also notified the city regarding the mature trees and await an inspection and further instructions from the city on how to proceed,” the attorney wrote to the LA Times. “I’m confident that all major properties in the area have similar issues, so I hope my client doesn’t get unfairly singled out in history for being a famous person.”
Stallone’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Water budgets within the Municipal Water District of Las Virgenes are tailored to each household. Factors considered are indoor and outdoor use and “special adjustments,” such as “medical needs” or “horse care,” the district’s website says.
Penalties not only include a surcharge on the water bill, but properties are also subject to the installation of a flow restriction device by the third penalty.
“What this restrictor does is it completely irradiates the functionality of your irrigation system,” McNutt said, adding that 70 percent of water use comes from outdoor landscaping.
According to McNutt, about 7.3% of the district’s clientele are on a list to receive the restriction device. But due to lack of resources, the district is installing 20 fixtures a week and starting at the top with the “most egregious water users”.
The Golden State is experiencing its third year of drought
Currently, most of California is experiencing at least ‘severe drought’ conditions, indicating the fire season will be longer, trees are ‘stressed’ and wildlife diseases are on the rise, according to the site. State government web.
It’s also not the first time celebrities have been caught and arrested for drinking water during droughts.
Jennifer Lopez and Barbra Streisand were among several personalities whose watering habits were challenged in 2015 during a water outage.
Kylie Jenner also had to pay a $100 fine to the Municipal Water District of Las Virgenes for excessive water consumption in 2015.
McNutt said in the interview that the best way for homeowners to reduce their water usage is to completely remove their lawns and use alternative outdoor landscaping methods such as laying down sod, mulch or pulverized granite.
“The lawns are so thirsty and they need so much water that it just doesn’t work anymore,” he said. “So we have to reinvent what’s aesthetically pleasing for our outdoor living spaces. There’s really no option for us anymore.”
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