L.A. City Council Wants To Know How Resident Uses 11.8M Gallons Of Water In Middle Of Drought

Someone in the posh Los Angeles neighborhood of Bel Air has been using about a million gallons of water a month — enough for 90 houses in the area. That’s a lot of water in any part of the world, let alone in a state and city in the middle of a drought. Yesterday, the L.A. City Council voted to crack down on this “Wet Prince of Bel Air” and other hydration hogs.

Earlier this month, the Center for Investigative Reporting attempted to identify the Bel Air resident who’d used 11.9 million gallons of water between May 2014 and April 2015, at a cost of approximately $1.1 million. But city officials refused to publicly this particular resident.

According to the CIR’s investigation, there are 100 similar “mega-users” in L.A., averaging 4.26 million gallons of water per year.

In fact, all ten of California’s biggest mega-users either live in Bel Air or in other swanky parts of L.A. like Brentwood or Beverly Hills. All of these houses used more than six million gallons in a year.

At yesterday’s vote, the councilman representing Bel Air declared, “I’m taking responsibility for the extravagant and embarrassing water use in my district.”

His motion [PDF] gives the city’s Department of Water and Power 30 days to file a report on “measures that can be taken in the short and long-term to address excessive water use… including imposing severe financial penalties and, as a last resort, shutting-off water for water abusers.”

“In such a horrific drought, it is irresponsible to be using water at such a rate,” reads the motion, “and a slap in the face to neighbors who have heroically complied with austere water use measures.”

Officials for DWP seemed baffled by the numbers.

“It is very difficult to explain how they can possibly be using that much water,” one told the City Council. “We want to get inside the walls and check that out.”

LA City Council to Wet Prince of Bel Air: We’re coming for you [Reveal]