Beverly Hills Goes After Celebrity Water-Wasters and Finally Cuts Citywide Usage

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Developer Geoff Palmer’s household used more than 12,000 gallons of water a day during a two-month period. Facing a penalty, Palmer appealed in January 2016. (Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Officials in Beverly Hills say they tried it all: educational campaigns, usage restrictions and written notices for people suspected of wasting water.

Despite those efforts, the community missed its savings target every month since June, when a statewide 25% reduction in urban water consumption became mandatory amid the punishing drought. As a result, state regulators fined the city, saying publicly that its water wasters "should be ashamed."

An estate owned by philanthropist David Geffen used an average of 27,000 gallons of water a day between June 2 and Aug. 2, 2015. (Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
An estate owned by philanthropist David Geffen used an average of 27,000 gallons of water a day between June 2 and Aug. 2, 2015. (Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

About four months ago, city officials got tough. Beverly Hills sent letters to dozens of customers in November warning them of high water use and urging them to cut back. The city also began penalizing profligate users.

The letters went to entertainment industry figures such as comedian Amy Poehler, prominent real estate developers such as Geoff Palmer and other notable names. An estate owned by philanthropist and former media mogul David Geffen used an average of about 27,000 gallons of water a day between June 2 and Aug. 2 — roughly 60 times what an average Los Angeles family uses and about 9,000 gallons more per day than what Geffen was allowed.

Click here to read the full story on LATimes.com.

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