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Some Jerk In Bel Air Used Almost 12 Million Gallons Of Water In A Year

Bel Air, where the grass is always green (because of all the water being used) (Photo by jorizaga via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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Despite the historical drought and our best efforts at drought shaming water guzzlers, some residents in wealthy west Los Angeles neighborhoods have used millions of gallons over the last year, including one Bel Air home that used a whopping 11.8 million gallons.

Those 11.8 million gallons are enough to supply an estimated 90 households and come with a water bill totaling $90,000. In fact, four of the top five worst known water-guzzling homes in California are from Bel Air, with the least-worst offender of those five coming in at almost 7.5 million gallons. The other home in the top five is from Beverly Hills, and is the third-worst in the state overall, using 8 million over that same time period. The rest of the top 10, according to data compiled by the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), is rounded out with homes in Brentwood and Westwood.

Despite mandates from officials, including Governor Jerry Brown and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, to reduce water usage across the state, local water agencies have done little to curb individual residents from using exorbitant amounts of water.

"There's no ordinance on the books in Los Angeles to go after an individual customer strictly for their use," Martin Adams, senior assistant general manager at LADWP, told the CIR. He also said that the focus on water conservation should be citywide, not focused on individual users. "This underscores the importance of focusing on water conservation citywide," he also said, and noted that the top 100 residential water users in L.A. only account for two-tenths of a percent of the city's water usage.

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For some, this comes off a little murky if individual homeowners are allowed to use enough water to supply entire neighborhoods. "Are you sending the right message if some S.O.B. is out there using 11 million gallons?" asked Jack Humphreville of the The Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council.

And while Los Angeles tops the list for California water guzzlers, with 92 of the top 100 known, we are not alone. Other regions home to known million-gallon guzzlers include tiny communities such as La Jolla and the East Bay's Contra Costa County.

The study by CIR did not reveal the identities of any of the water guzzling homeowners, as the respective water agencies cited privacy concerns. Fourteen of the top 25 largest water agencies did not share any data on their top water users with CIR, citing a variety reasons, while three of them are private and thus not subject to public records laws.

Despite all this, for the third month in a row we've met our water-saving goals in the state. No doubt with little help from those million-gallon guzzlers.

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