Celeb-Heavy Los Angeles Suburb Gets Tough On Water Wasters

In a wealthy enclave nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains that is a haven for celebrities, residents now face more aggressive consequences for wasting water — including the threat of having their water flows slowed to a trickle if they repeatedly flout conservation rules.

The Las Virgenes Municipal Water District northwest of Los Angeles offers a bold example of how local authorities across drought-stricken California are trying to get people to use less water, voluntarily if possible but with the threat of punishment if they don’t comply.

Before restricting water flows, the district hopes to spur savings by giving households a real-time look at their water use and stepping up fines for those homeowners who exceed their allotted “water budgets.”

District officials hope their approach will be a wakeup call for residents of the affluent neighborhoods, where most water is used outdoors use to keep expansive yards looking verdant and pretty and for pools.

Flow restrictors are rarely-used tool primarily reserved for people who repeatedly fail to pay bills. Now, the Las Virgenes district is warning that they could be installed on the water connections to homes that have been fined for overuse for three months. In the past, flow restrictors were a possibility after five months of fines, but the district never used them.

“What we’re trying to do is conserve water now so that we can stretch the limited supplies we have available,” said Dave Pederson, the district’s general manager.

California is experiencing the effects of climate change, with drought conditions present for most of the last decade. After two exceptionally dry years left the state’s reservoirs at or near record lows, a string of recent winter storms improved conditions. But most of the state is still in severe drought.

In July, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom asked residents to voluntarily cut 15% of their water use, but useage had declined only 6% as of November. The state water board last month imposed a series of mild homeowner water use restrictions, such as waiting two days after storms to water lawns. The board could take more significant steps later in the year if the drought intensifies.

California’s local districts provide water service, regulate use and enforce penalties. The Las Virgenes district serves about 75,000 people communities of Agoura Hills, Westlake Village, Calabasas and Hidden Hills — an area that in recent years has attracted a growing number of celebrities, including Kim Kardashian and Will Smith.

Like much of inland Southern California, the region rarely gets any rain outside the winter months. It’s wealthier than most other parts of the state, with a typical Calabasas home selling for more than $1.5 million, according to the online real estate marketplace Zillow.

Despite calls for conservation, water customers in the area increased useage in August and September and then met the state’s 15% reduction goal in October before again missing the target in November.

Collectively, customers greatly exceeded their water budgets last year and one of the biggest issues the district faces is “the ability for affluent customers to significantly exceed their water budgets consistently since money is not a deterrent,” said Michael McNutt, the district’s spokesman. He declined to provide names of the district’s biggest water users.

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Comments

  1. The so called celebs will just buy bottled water to shower and wash their cars if their water is restricted. .

  2. Didn’t we vote a couple of billion for new dams a few years ago but liberal Sacramento hasn’t done a thing? The same buffoons that refuse to build new/higher dams or desal plants ate responsible. And who do you think the buffoons in the Las Virgines Water District vote for??

  3. Puh-leeze. Don’t let’s keep banging the climate change drum! You can tell this story just as well or better without it.

    “California is experiencing the effects of climate change, with drought conditions present for most of the last decade.” I have lived in California since 1964, and this seesaw between too little and too much is nothing new. I came from Texas; same story. The only thing that changes is Chicken Little’s squawk: “Global cooling! A new Ice Age No! Global warming! Oh, the poor polar bears and us owners of beachfront mansions.”

    Parroting the well-debunked climate change theory only tightens the noose around our necks of government mandated “carbon suppression,” high energy costs to pay for not-green renewable energy supplied by developers just thirsting to take up all our open lands for unreliable solar and wind resources.

    I’m tired of the word “planet” as well. It’s an infallible BS signal. “Green” as well, unless you are speaking of salad or envy.

  4. Stan Sexton says

    In Santa Barbara, the wealthy didn’t care about the water shortage. They paid thousands to truckers to bring in tank loads of water to their residences.

  5. Jerry Todd says

    Totalitarians will always drastically reduce freedoms. Celebs tend to get away with their excesses, but neither have an answer.

    A perfect investment for all Californians is to make we always have sufficient, pure and plentiful water. A few San Joaquin Valley farmers and businessmen, having tolerated the water they pay for being dumped into the ocean by Newsom’s environmental sycophants have come up with a great stable water facility and infrastucture investment.

    2% of the state budget to be applied to water storage and infrastructure.
    We need money and petitions signed ASAP. A real infrastructure bill, not the 9.2% of the Biden “infrastructure” bill.

    https://morewaternow.com Let’s get with it with a few Sant Monicaa Hills wine and cheese fund raiser and petition signing.

  6. Jerry Todd says

    Totalitarians will always drastically reduce freedoms. Celebs tend to get away with their excesses, but neither have an answer.

    A perfect investment for all Californians is to make sure we always have sufficient, pure and plentiful water. A few San Joaquin Valley farmers and businessmen, having tolerated the water they pay for being dumped into the ocean by Newsom’s environmental sycophants have come up with a great stable water facility and infrastructure investment.

    2% of the state budget to be applied to water storage and infrastructure.
    We need money and petitions signed ASAP. A real infrastructure bill, not the 9.2% of the Biden “infrastructure” bill.

    https://morewaternow.com Let’s get with it with a few Santa Monica Hills wine and cheese fundraiser and petition signing.

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