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Some of Los Angeles’ most famous celebrities are getting put on blast after being outed for their excessive water use amid a severe drought emergency throughout Southern California.
Kim Kardashian and her sister Kourtney are among Southern California’s worst offenders, Mike McNutt, a spokesman for the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District told NPR.
The pair have received “notices of exceedance” from the district, which serves the wealthy cities of Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Hidden Hills and Westlake Village. Those notices are given to district residents who have surpassed their monthly water usage budget allotted by the department at least four times, McNutt said.
And the reality stars are not the only ones.
Comedian Kevin Hart, former NBA star Dwyane Wade and his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, and Sylvester Stallone have also continued to exceed district limits despite repeated warnings and fines. Now, the water department could install flow restriction devices that can reduce gushing showers to a mere trickle, and would almost certainly turn the rolling lawns surrounding their respective mansions brown.
The violations were first reported by the Los Angeles Times. On Tuesday, McNutt confirmed the data, adding that, in all, more than 1,600 residents are breaking the rules.
He noted that the district is 100% reliant on imported water from the Sierra Nevada mountains 400 miles away. “We have no groundwater, we have no other alternative sources to draw from,” he added.
McNutt said the Kardashians have flouted their official water allowance by 150% or more for several months since water conservation efforts were first implemented at the end of last year.
By the utility’s count, he said, Kim Kardashian’s two adjoining lots in Hidden Hills, guzzled their June allotment and then some, going over by about 232,000 gallons. Her sister, Kourtney, who lives in Calabasas, drained another 101,000 gallons in excess. Combined, that amount of water would fill half of an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
Dwyane Wade and wife Gabrielle Union appear to have begun to make some progress in reining in water usage on their property in the month of June, going over by 90,000 gallons. But their May bill was staggering — they used an extra 489,000 gallons of water that month due to a swimming pool malfunction, the couple said in a statement to the Times.
Meanwhile, a representative for Sylvester Stallone and his model wife, Jennifer Flavin, told the Times that their property has many large, mature fruit trees that would be at risk without sufficient watering. In June, the couple used 230,000 excess gallons of water – more than 533% than their allocated budget.
Kevin Hart’s 26-acre Calabasas property also got more than 117,000 gallons than is budgeted for such a parcel.
McNutt explained the department has a formula for calculating fines for those who flagrantly eschew conservation guidelines. But he acknowledges that they’re hardly a deterrent for the rich and famous.
“For the celebrities or musicians or athletes who all live in the area, monetary penalties are going to be meaningless to them because it doesn’t matter. They have plenty of money and if they want to, they could spend $5,000 a month on a water bill,” he said.
Indeed, Kim Kardashian, whose empire now includes a line of undergarments called Skims, was billed approximately $2,325 for her overuse. That’s the equivalent of about 38 bodysuits, which retail for $62 a piece. Hart’s fine for June, is about $1,170, less than the cost of three second-row tickets to the comedian’s show in Chicago on Thursday. (Single tickets are selling for $382 each, plus fees.)
Now the district wants to hit people where it really hurts.
According to McNutt, that would mean installing a flow restriction device that would automatically reduce outside water usage by 70%.
People who prioritize lush, green landscaping over conservation must “understand that what they’re doing is they’re taking water away from somebody that could be miles and miles and miles away … who needs it for cooking, cleaning, or bathing,” McNutt said.