California’s drought is no joke. The worst in 1,200 years, officials are calling for residents to conserve water usage and even unleashed millions of plastic balls into LA reservoirs to combat the problem. Yet, there is a new offender that has just been outed: an unnamed Bel Air resident has used 11.8 million gallons of water in one year, racking up a $90,000 bill. The closest runners-up to this outrageous number are 14 residents who have used up 6 million gallons. Who is the culprit for this obscene overuse and, more mysteriously, what is he or she doing with all that water?
11.8 million gallons of water is how much 90 typical households use in one year and could fill 18 Olympic-sized swimming pools. In a time when over 500 wells in East Porterville, California have completely dried up since the drought began four years ago, this kind of usage seems downright monstrous. Yet there is no news that the city has taken any measures to address the offender and will not release the identity of the homeowner.
Tracy Quinn, an analyst of water policy for the Santa Monica Natural Resources Defense Council, said in an interview with Reveal, the reporting agency who blew the lid off the Bel Air resident’s overuse, “I’m actually shocked by the amount of water that can be used in a single-family residence. It’s appalling.” Only speculation can begin to answer the question of what could cause one home to produce such staggering numbers, but best guesses include watering a gargantuan lawn and maintaining a large pool.