Here's Who Might Be Wasting The Most Water In Los Angeles
Last year, The Center for Investigative Reporting revealed that the vast majority of California's biggest water wasters lived on Los Angeles's Westside. Four of California's five largest private consumers of water, it turns out, live in Los Angeles, including one particularly egregious user in Bel Air who managed to use 11.8 million(!) gallons in the year leading up to April 2015. To put that number in perspective, 11.8 million gallons is roughly the same amount of water 90 average-sized households use during a year.
When CIR contacted the L.A. Department of Water and Power for the addresses of the offending water wasters, the LADWP declined to provide the information. Instead of calling it quits, CIR decided to pull out the property assessment maps, the satellite imagery and the soil-moisture-analysis algorithms in order to reasonably deduce who the biggest water wasters in L.A. are.
In a followup report released on Monday, CIR chose to name names. According to their analysis, California's biggest single user of water is likely the former CEO of Univision, Jerrold Perenchio. Perenchio owns a palatial 42-room French Chateau—best known as the Clampett manson from the TV series The Beverly Hillbillies.
Perenchio was once just a humble Hollywood producer, who made shows like All In The Family and movies like Blade Runner. Fast forward a couple years, he grew the Spanish-language Univison from a fledgling channel into the fifth largest domestic network. In the process, he earned $2.7 billion, and splurged on that sweet 21,500-square foot house. Sprawled across the 13 acres of lush property is a helipad, an underground motorpool capable of holding 30 cars, and multiple other houses, the largest of which tops out at 7,200-square-feet. CIR estimates Perenchio's estate drains anywhere from 6.1 million to 12.3 million gallons of water each year.
Likely sliding into the honorable number two spot is an investment banker named Gary Winnick. Winnick owns the former residence of hotel mogul Conrad Hilton. The 64-room estate had, at least during the 1990s, 40,000 blooming flowers. CIR estimates Winnick's 8 acre estate uses anywhere from 4.6 million to 9.3 million gallons of water annually.
Peter Guber attends the Advertising Hall Of Achievement Induction Ceremonies in 2013. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for American Advertising Federation)
Number three is (likely) Peter Guber. With 9 acres of rustic property, the producer and part-owner of the Dodgers is estimated to use 2.8 to 5.5 million gallons of water annually. Wal-Mart heiress Nancy Walton reportedly uses anywhere from 2.3 million to 4.6 million gallons yearly at her $20 million home. And Robert Daly, former chair of both Warner Brothers and the Dodgers, slips (likely) into the number five spot, using somewhere between 2.1 million to 4.2 million gallons of water.
While most of the alleged water-wasters didn't reply to CIR's request for comment, both Beny Alagem (owner of the Beverly Hilton) and Robert Daly said they were aware of their prodigious water use. Daly acknowledged and said "I have been a responsible person... I can't help the fact that I own a lot of property." Alagam's spokesperson replied and said "We take your report very seriously,"
As the Hollywood Reporter points out, none of the alleged water wasters technically broke any laws. As long as they can pay for the water, they may use it.