BEL AIR—According to reports, Bel Air residents are trying to figure out the identity of the individual who has been named the “The Wet Prince of Bel Air,” an ultra-wealthy resident who has consumed 11.8 million gallons in water in the past year.
Many Californians have successfully met the challenge, set forth by Governor Jerry Brown, to cut back water usage by 25 percent. The level of waste in Bel Air is, to many, aggravating (“It’s criminal,” one Bel Air resident told The Guardian) as well as baffling. One Reddit user, putting the sheer amount of this particular water usage in proportion, wrote, “To use that much water you would have to leave 10 bathroom sinks running non-stop for a year, or flush your toilet 7,500,000 times.”
Policy makers are considering adding a new, extra-high penalty rate for the biggest water-wasters, but, as the Los Angeles Times reports, penalties “accomplish little in allocating the state’s shrinking water resources.” According to the Times editorial, a water guzzler such as the “Wet Prince” is a blip on the radar as far as the state’s big water consumers, like almond farms and others.
While most of the rainfall that lands on Southern California throughout the year either evaporates or flows into the ocean, the region receives much of its water from snowpack in the state’s northern regions.
Scientists are trying to find new ways of conserving water in California. Researchers from UC Davis have seen favorable results from early tests that flood farm soil to replenish aquifers without damaging crops. Aquifers are underground layers of permeable rock and soil that feed ground wells.