They are among the biggest names in entertainment and sports: Sylvester Stallone, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Hart, Kim and Kourtney Kardashian.
And as Southern California grapples with a third year of unprecedented drought and water restrictions, they may be among the biggest names in wasting water in the San Fernando Valley enclaves of Calabasas and Hidden Hills, according to documents obtained. by TheTimes.
The celebrities were among more than 2,000 customers who were recently issued “excess notices” by the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, stating that they had exceeded 150% of their monthly water budgets at least four times since the agency declared a drought emergency in the Municipal Water District of Las Vírgenes. end of last year.
Your properties are now subject to the installation of flow restriction devices, that can reduce rain showers to a trickle and silence lawn sprinklers.
“Customers are expected to adhere to the water use reductions and water conservation measures that are in place due to this emergency,” the notices read.
On June 1, Las Virgenes imposed severe “Stage 3” restrictions in an effort to achieve an unprecedented 50% reduction in consumption due to a water shortage emergency. The rules limit outdoor watering to one day a week, with just eight minutes per season on the designated day.
Customers received notices about its use in May and June. The Times obtained the documents after filing a request under the California Public Records Act.
Among the addresses that received notices was an $18 million Hidden Hills property, listed under the name of former NBA star Wade, that exceeded its June-allocated water budget by more than 1,400%, or 90,000 gallons. . That was an improvement over May, when the property was 489,000 gallons over budget, more than any other client.
Wade and his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, attributed the overuse of their property to a problem with their pool. In a statement, the couple said they have “taken drastic steps to reduce water use in accordance with new city guidelines and have done so since we moved into our home.”
“We have been doing everything we can to rectify the situation and will continue to do everything we can to resolve the issue,” the statement said. “We have replaced all the parts of our pool system that [have] to do with water flow and leakage, as well as converting to synthetic grass and drought tolerant plants to reduce our water use. We will continue to work with the city and the water distribution company to make sure this is not an issue in the future.”
Las Virgenes spokesman Mike McNutt said water budgets for properties are determined by a combination of factors, including the number of residents and the amount of land irrigated.
An $18 million, 2.26-acre Hidden Hills estate owned by Stallone and his wife, model Jennifer Flavin, was also reported for overuse. In June, the property used about 533% more than its allocated budget – 230,000 gallons in excess. That was an increase of 195,000 excess gallons in May.
In a statement provided to The Times, Stallone’s attorney, Marty Singer, said the numbers could “characterize and misrepresent the situation regarding water use on my client’s property.”
“They have over 500 mature trees on the property, including countless fruit trees and pines,” the statement read. “Without proper irrigation, they would in all likelihood die. That could result in dead or damaged trees falling on my client’s property or neighboring properties.”
The statement continued: “My client has been responsibly and proactively approaching the situation. Pastures have been left to die and other areas are irrigated by a drip irrigation system. They have also notified the city of the mature trees and are awaiting an inspection and further instructions from the city on how to proceed. I’m sure all the larger properties in the area have similar problems. Therefore, I am confident that my client will not be unfairly singled out in history because he is a famous person.”
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the wholesaler that ordered the cuts after the state cut supplies this year, he has said residents should cut about 80 gallons per person per day in order to maintain a critical supply shortage.
Las Virgenes, which serves some 75,000 customers in its corner of Los Angeles County, has acknowledged that its customers are among the largest users of water in the region. McNutt said the area has long attracted people looking for big houses and land.
“We’re asking you to not only minimize your water consumption, but we’re also asking you, in a way, to completely reconsider what you like aesthetically and how that’s going to affect your property values,” he said. “And that’s not something that happens overnight.”
He added: “It’s not making an excuse for them, but being honest.”
The district overall has made progress, McNutt said. As of June 2021, Las Virgenes residents used about 261 gallons per person per day, more than double the area served by the nearby Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. In June 2022, average daily residential usage dropped to 170 gallons, while overall savings were approximately 37% more than the same month in 2020, the year the drought began.
“What we’re seeing is that our customers have already significantly reduced their water use since the last drought, and now we’re asking them to do even more,” McNutt said. “You put it in context: our clients have been doing a very good job.”
But the data makes it clear that some are using more than their fair share. In addition to celebrities, the list of addresses that have received notices includes houses of lawyers, doctors and Hollywood executives.
A 26-acre Calabasas property in actor Hart’s name was listed in June, when it went over budget by 117,000 gallons, or about 519%, records show.
In addition, two properties included in a trust that The Times has confirmed is associated with Kim Kardashian received notices: her Hidden Hills home and its adjacent lot, which together exceeded their June budget by about 232,000 gallons.
Kourtney Kardashian’s 1.86-acre estate in nearby Calabasas ran over its June budget by about 101,000 gallons, records show.
Representatives for Hart and the Kardashian family did not respond to requests for comment.
Although McNutt credited the area for his overall savings, he said conditions in Las Vírgenes: as in much of California – have become terrible. Governor Gavin Newsom recently said the state is projected to lose 10% of its water in the next 20 years due to the effects of global warming.
Las Virgenes is complementing its reduced supplies of Metropolitan Water District with water from the Las Virgenes reservoir at a rate of about 17 acre-feet per day, he said. (An acre-foot is enough water to supply two or three families for a year.)
“We are way ahead of most, if not all, [agencies]especially when it comes to law enforcement, but we have to be, we have no choice,” he said.
So far, the agency has installed about 20 flow restrictors and continues to hunt down the worst offenders.
While some residents have property managers, landscapers or others who oversee water use, “it can’t be argued” that the responsibility ultimately rests with the owner, McNutt said.
He said he hopes to see celebrities use their influence to demonstrate what a more drought-tolerant California could look like.
“People listen to you, people look at you, people value what you do… We need you to step up, be an example and be a leader for other people to follow,” he said. “That’s the single most important thing that anyone in that group, or who has those resources, can do to influence and help with other people’s behavior modifications.”
It is not the first time that clients of Las Vírgenes have been criticized for their use of water. the area was equally criticized for keeping their lawns green during the last drought, which lasted from 2012 to 2016, according to the California Department of Water Resources.
Times researcher Scott Wilson contributed to this report.