Everyone knows that California is suffering a catastrophic water shortage, but to drive around some of the wealthier neighborhoods in the state, you might not be able to tell. That’s because some of California’s richest residents are having water trucked to their homes in order to keep their lawns, swimming pools, fountains, and (no doubt vital) polo fields hydrated.
Politico visited homes in the Montecito area, which boasts numerous celebrity residents and the highest real estate values in the country. Perhaps the most famous city resident is Oprah Winfrey. Winfrey has drastically cut back on water consumption this year because of the drought. Her city water bill has dropped by more than half and she has allowed some of her land to go to seed. But some residents are getting around the city water restrictions by importing huge tankers full of water.
Tankers carrying up to 5,000 gallons of water can be seen traveling along the Montecito roads, delivering the precious resource to the tony residents. This has enabled some residents to adhere to some very tight water restrictions without having to sacrifice any actual water.
Of course, not all residents want to truck in extra water. Some individuals have opted to just keep using water and pay fines instead. In May alone, property owners paid over a half million dollars in fines. In fact, one home alone racked up an astonishing $30,000 for using an extra 750,000 gallons of water. As Gizmodo reported, as you drive through the wealthier neighborhoods in Southern California, the homes are notable not for their water conservation efforts, but for the conspicuous green lawns and bubbling fountains.