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Beverly Hills Shines Light On Urban Water Consumption

California has been devastated by a prolonged drought, causing Governor Jerry Brown to declare a statewide water emergency. That action, taken last June, implemented a mandatory 25% reduction in urban water consumption. Some of the state’s A-listers apparently missed the memo on the new water regulations, and that put the City of Beverly Hills in a bind.

To meet the state-mandated urban water consumption requirements, Beverly Hills implemented restrictions on outdoor watering, car washing and swimming pool usage.

Nothing.

The city sent letters to dozens of over-users. The letter included a request to reduce water consumption and a warning that future bills would begin accumulating punitive surcharges.

Still nothing.

The city was flooded with complaints that its residents were ignoring the watering restrictions. The State of California penalized Beverly Hills by assessing a $61,000 fine for its failure to meet water consumption targets, even though it recognized that the City was doing everything right in its bid to reduce water consumption.

In November 2015, the City sent letters to its highest water consumers, using data from its June to August billing cycle. The letters went to some of the city’s most expensive homes. The water bills in question ranged from $2,500 to more than $31,000.

The worst offender? Recording mogul David Geffen, whose 10-acre Warner Estate swallowed more than 1 million gallons of water in just two months. Geffen said that he’s been trying to get permission from the City to drill a well on his property to tap into groundwater for use around his property.

Other offenders include comedian Amy Poehler, developer Geoff Palmer, directors Brett Ratner and Max Mutchnick. Some of overusage has been attributed to leaking water lines, and the offenders have vowed to have them fixed. Others maintained that they had no previous knowledge that their water consumption was that high.

Despite the city’s get-tough approach to water usage, and its recent progress on curbing urban water consumption, it’s still falling short of the state mandated conservation targets. Officials acknowledge that the city may get fined again for missing the mark.

Prior to the water restrictions, the typical urban water consumption rate for the average Los Angeles resident was about 77 gallons per day. As of January, the average Los Angeles resident consumed 59 gallons of water – 2 gallons shy of the city’s reduction target.

Los Angeles has undertaken some significant conservation measures, including offering rebates of $3 per square foot for turf removal and replacement with drought-tolerant plants. Water conservation is something everyone can do, regardless of where you live in the country. If you’d like more information about water conservation strategies that you can employ here in Boston, please give us a call at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911. We’ll be happy to show you how you can reduce water consumption in and around your home.

Photo Credit: Alejandro Basso, via FreeImages.com