BEVERLY HILLS—The city of Beverly Hills has made continual efforts to cut down its water usage, but has not been able to significantly decrease amounts. Residents, including celebrities, have been “wasting” water for months.
Officials in Beverly Hills say they have attempted various tactics to keep residents from wasting water including educational campaigns, usage restrictions and written notices for people suspected of wasting water.
During the time these tactics were being deployed, the community continued to miss its savings target. The region has missed its savings target every month since June, amidst a statewide 25 percent reduction in urban water consumption becoming mandatory. Because of the overuse, the city was fined and state regulators said publicly that water wasters “should be ashamed.”
In November 2015, city officials began sending letters to customers warning them of their water usage and urging them to cut back. The city began to fine users that did not. According to reports, celebrities such as comedienne Amy Poehler, and real estate developer Geoff Palmer, were some who received a letter.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, an estate owned by philanthropist and former media mogul David Geffen used an average of about 27,000 gallons of water a day between June 2 and August 2. This is roughly 60 times what an average Los Angeles family uses and about 9,000 gallons more per day than what Geffen was allowed.
Geffen was charged more than $30,000 for the 1.6 million gallons he used at his property over the course of an entire billing cycle.
Poehler was charged more than $2,200 for her water usage. According to her bill, she used more than 170,000 gallons during that time frame.
“The inference we’re drawing is it’s not the agency,” said Chris Carrigan, the State Water Board’s Chief of Enforcement. “The agency is providing the right tools to their customers. It’s that the customers don’t have the wherewithal to commit to conservation.”
The city’s conservation standard is to decrease usage by 32 percent. Currently, the city is at 26 percent and hopes to continue to increase that number and avoid additional fines from the state.
When pertaining to fining the city of Beverly Hills again, Cris Carrigan of the State Water Board said, “We might do that.” City officials plan to continue to develop tactics to decrease water waste.