According to the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, some of the most well-known people in the world have received letters for regularly exceeding their monthly water allocations. This is happening during a severe drought in California.
Michael McNutt, the communications manager for the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, Kim and Kourtney Kardashian, Kevin Hart, Dwyane Wade, and Sylvester Stallone received notices for exceeding 150% of their monthly water budgets at least four times at their Southern California properties.
Celebs did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Since the water agency began sending out notices in December, more than 1,600 consumers have received them, according to McNutt. Around 76,000 people are served by the 22,000 service connections in Las Virgenes. Now that the historic drought is being brought to light, McNutt urges the celebs to set an example by using their platforms to do the same.
“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 stated.
“I want them to work with me and my district to put out public service announcements and educate the community on how dire this drought is. I want those celebrities to lead by example, then use that knowledge for themselves,” he added.
But McNutt said he doesn’t anticipate the celebrities’ water usage to drop overnight because “the celebrities’ properties are massive.”
In October, Governor Gavin Newsom increased the state’s drought emergency level as California grappled with record-breaking dry weather and a continued strain on its water supplies. This gave the state water board the authority to outlaw water-wasting practices like washing sidewalks and driveways with potable water.
As a result, the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District proclaimed a state of emergency and demanded that water use be restricted. Customers were urged to cut back on their usage, and if they didn’t, they risked fines, which could range from $2.50 to $10 for each additional unit of water used, according to the water district, or possibly having a “flow restriction device” installed in their homes.
“Visualize it: You have a 1-inch pipe with no restrictions, then we put on a flow restrictor — a stainless steel disk with a 1-inch diameter,” NcNutt stated. “So water flows through that. Imagine how much your water pressure and water are reduced. More than anything, it completely removes the functionality of an outdoor irrigation system, and 70% of water consumption usually goes towards outdoor irrigation systems.”
Homes that have used three or more times their monthly water allotment can install the flow limiting device. The district then monitors the customer after the initial installation period of no more than two weeks. The gadget is reinstalled for a month if water usage doesn’t decrease.
“We’re very serious about this. This drought is more dire and historical than anything this state has ever seen, hands down,” McNutt stated.
“We rely 100% on imported water because we have no local water source, and the drought disproportionately impacts our area, so we are serious about conserving water because we have to.”
According to a press release, Newsom unveiled a plan that “prioritises steps to capture, recycle, de-salt and conserve more water.”
However, because they have all signed a “Water Use Commitment Form,” the Kardashians, Hart, Wade, and Stallone won’t be obtaining flow restriction devices for their homes.
A copy of the form, which NBC News received, enables clients to ask the district for a water use survey and receive advice from experts on reducing their consumption.
Customers must also show a “substantial increase in the efficiency” of their water use each month after submitting the form by taking actions like installing “a weather-based irrigation control system” to assist in lowering outdoor water use. If no progress is made, customers can be subject to financial penalties and flow restriction devices.
“The district’s position is it doesn’t matter who you are, how successful you are, how much money you have — everyone is treated exactly equal,” McNutt stated. “So you can be Kim K or any of these other celebrities, and you’ll get a flow restrictor.”
The Wade family told the Los Angeles Times that they had “taken drastic steps to cut water usage in compliance with the new city requirements and have since moved into our home” in response to an article about the notifications.
“My client has been addressing the problem appropriately and proactively,” Stallone’s attorney told the Times.
The Kardashians’ and Hart’s representatives did not respond to the Times’ requests for comment.