According to the Las Virgenes municipal water district, some of the world’s most recognizable faces have been charged with repeatedly exceeding their monthly water budget amid a severe drought in California.
Kim and Kourtney Kardashian, Kevin Hart, Dwyane Wade and Sylvester Stallone were ticketed at least four times for exceeding 150% of their monthly water budget on their Southern California properties, said Michael McNutt, the communications manager for the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District. .
Requests for comment from the celebrities were not immediately answered.
They are among more than 1,600 customers who have received the notices since the water district began issuing them in December, McNutt said. Las Virgenes’ 22,000 service connections provide service to approximately 76,000 residents. McNutt now wants the celebrities to lead by example and use their platforms to showcase the historic drought.
“The reason this is important is that those individuals have a platform that they could use, like social media — some of them have millions following them,” he said.
“What I want them to do is work with me, work with my district, to make public service announcements and educate the community about how severe this drought is. I want those celebrities to lead by example and that knowledge then use it for themselves.”
However, McNutt noted that “celebrities’ attributes are huge” and said he doesn’t expect them to change their water usage overnight.
Governor Gavin Newsom extended the state of emergency for the entire state in October as California grappled with unprecedented dry conditions and continued pressure on the state’s water resources. That authorized the state water board to ban the use of wasteful water, such as using drinking water to wash sidewalks and driveways.
As a result, the Las Virgenes municipal water district has declared a state of emergency and called for mandatory reductions in water use. Customers were asked to reduce their use, and if they didn’t, they were subject to fines, including a $2.50 to $10 fee per additional unit of water or even a “flow-limiting device” installed in their homes, according to the Water neighbourhood.
“Visualize it: You have a 1-inch pipe with no restrictions, then we put on a flow limiter — a 1-inch diameter stainless steel disc,” NcNutt said. “So that’s where water flows through. Imagine how much your water pressure and water is reduced. More than anything, it completely removes the functionality of an outdoor irrigation system and 70% of the water usage usually goes to outdoor irrigation systems.”
The flow limiter can be installed in homes that have exceeded the monthly water budget three or more times. It is first placed for a maximum of two weeks, after which the customer is checked by the district. If the water consumption does not improve, the device will be reinstalled for a month.
“We take this very seriously. This drought is worse and more historic than anything this state has ever seen,” McNutt said.
“We are 100% dependent on imported water as we don’t have a local water source, and the drought is disproportionately impacting our area as a result, so we are serious about saving water because we have to.”
Newsom this month announced a strategy that “prioritizes actions to capture, recycle, desalinate and conserve more water,” according to a press release.
But the Kardashians, Hart, Wade, and Stallone aren’t getting power-limiting devices in their homes because they’ve all signed a “Water Use Commitment Form.”
NBC News has been given a copy of the form, which customers can use to request a water use survey from the district and get tips from specialists on how to reduce their consumption.
It also requires customers to demonstrate “significant improvement in the efficiency” of their water use each month after submitting the form by doing things like installing “a weather-based irrigation system” to help reduce outdoor water usage. If no progress is made, customers could face financial penalties and power-limiting devices.
“The district’s position is that it doesn’t matter who you are, how successful you are, how much money you have — everyone is treated exactly the same,” McNutt said. “So you can be Kim K or any of these other celebrities, and you get a current limiter.”
Responding to a Los Angeles Times story about the announcements, the Wade family told the newspaper that they had “taken drastic steps to reduce water usage in accordance with new city guidelines and have moved into our home since we moved in.” “
A Stallone attorney told the Times, “My client has handled the situation in a responsible and proactive manner.”
Representatives from the Kardashians and Hart did not respond to the Times’ requests for comment.