SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The drought has come down to a question of the haves and the have-nots.
A birds-eye view of California’s richest water districts, shows sprawling lawns at celebrity estates in stark contrast to the barren, dry land surrounding them. As regular folks are forced to rip out the sod and let their lawns turn brown, the grass growing chez Barbara Streisand, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson, and Kim Kardashian and Kanye West would turn them green with envy.
Mandatory cutbacks have forced Californians to give up their green lawns to avoid stiff fines, but it appears California’s celebs can afford to keep their lawns as green as ever. According to the statistics, wealthier people use a lot more water.
“And we find overall 50% or more of that water is used for outdoor irrigation,” said Stephanie Pincetl of UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability
California’s historic drought has brought about draconian measures. Governor Jerry Brown called for a 25% reduction in water use – a first in the state’s history. Some districts are under mandates to cut water use by as much as 36 percent. Fines of $500 may deter the average household. Landscaping is the first thing to go.
But honestly, for wealthy households, $500 is simply not a deterrent.
“Fines are not the answer,” said Beverly Hills Mayor, Dr. Julian Gold. “Even if you can afford it, you have to understand that this is serious, this is a crisis. You’re going to have to participate and play your part.”
CBS reached out to these celebrities via their representatives to ask them about their water use, but none have replied, so far.
Some are calling on these style-setters to set the trend. After all, celebrities have tens of millions of followers on social media. One tweet from say, a Kardashian, could be a drought game changer.
“We really need a lot of leadership from popular culture, who’ll say, ‘we are going to change our behavior,’ in order to make it safe for other people to do the same.” said Pincetl.