LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — While the drought has most residents of Southern California conserving water, one home in Bel Air guzzled nearly 12 million gallons of water in just one year.
Bel Air is known for upscale, celebrity-owned properties, and now, for being the home of California’s biggest water user.
The house pumped out 11.8 million gallons of water in one year, which according to the investigative website reveal-news.org cost the home owners an estimated $90,000.
Tracy Quinn is a water-policy analyst for the Natural Resource Defense Council, which argues that the alarmingly high water use by the Bel Air resident is shocking.
“That’s more water than is used by 100 households in Southern California,” Quinn said.
Despite the drought and numerous public service announcements urging water conservation, most mega-users don’t face penalties.
People can still use whatever they pay for, which is upsetting to some who have let their lawns go brown to save water.
Some homeowners have been slapped with heavy fines for runoff and for watering on the wrong days but continue to use water at a higher-than-normal rate.
The names of these mega-users are being kept secret for privacy reasons, according to the water companies.
Quinn argues that simply being allowed to pump nearly 12 million gallons in a year with no questions asked sets a horrible example for the rest of the residents in California.
“It’s probably going towards a large lush manicured grass, which really doesn’t need drinking water that’s been pumped hundreds of miles and treated so we can consume it, in a time of epic drought. It’s not OK,” Quinn added.
So far, only two water agencies have started to institute penalties for mega-users, according to reveal-news.com, one in Oakland, and one in Coachella Valley.
(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)