Los Angeles Restricts Water Flow to Wasted Celebrity Mansions: ‘No matter how rich you are, we’ll treat you the same’ | California

TheOs Angeles is experiencing a historical drought, but that hasn’t stopped some of its most famous residents from maintaining their space The lawns of huge mansions and the ornate gardens are well watered. In response, local authorities resorted to a surprisingly simple trick to keep the rich in check.

This solution is a small metal disc known as a “flow restrictor”. The limiter can be installed in minutes over chronic waste pipes, significantly slowing the flow of water in the home.

Restrictions have already been placed on homes owned by several celebrities – including comedian Kevin Hart, rapper The Game and Scott Disick’s ex-Kourtney Kardashian, according to water area records reviewed by the Guardian. The following other famous names may be – titles associated with Kim Kardashian, Sylvester Stallone Madonna has all been shortlisted for eligible stream-restriction offenders.

For the water authorities, it’s an experiment in holding the super-rich to be held accountable to the same standards as everyone else.

A person holds a small metal disc with a small hole in the middle
Cason Gilmer shows a flow restrictor that slows the flow of water in the tube. Photo: Jae C Hong/AP

“We’ve taken a very firm stance on equality,” said Mike McNutt, a spokesperson for the Las Virginia Water District, which serves areas like Calabasas and Hidden Hills that are popular with celebrities.

Small but powerful solution

As California’s decades-long mega drought deepened this year, water authorities across the state issued mandatory cuts, in fines. But McNutt said the Las Virginia water district faced a particular challenge: Their clients are so wealthy that financial penalties are unlikely to change their behaviour, Even when the area imposed a 50% reduction in outdoor irrigation.

So, Cason Gilmer, 36, County The senior field customer service representative, went to the workshop in the water area, and began to repair the mechanical solutions.

The result was a small but sturdy flow restrictor, a disc made of food-grade stainless steel with a small hole in the middle. It has the ability to reduce the flow of water so sharply that it is difficult to shower and wash dishes at the same time, while watering the lawn in the open air becomes impossible.

Small device, big impact: demonstrating how to install a “flow restrictor.” pic.twitter.com/AjTADlPOan

— Lois Beckett (@loisbeckett) September 27, 2022


McNutt said putting one of the flow restrictors into the water pipe outside a customer’s home only takes about 10 minutes, and the district adds a seal and tag warning of a $2,500 fine if the device is tampered with.

Gilmer says he initially tested the device at his home and it worked as he had hoped. Sinks and toilets “work fine”, showers run about 60% of normal volume, but “you have to be really water aware” because “you can’t use two things at the same time”.

For the most part, Gilmer said, clients, and even celebrities, were reasonable, and their fits weren’t thrown at them when they risked slowing the water flow considerably.

Gilmer is installing an advanced water metering system in Agora Hills, California.
Gilmer is installing an advanced water metering system in Agora Hills, California. Photo: Jae C Hong/AP

The grass around Kourtney Kardashian’s pool in Calabasas had turned brown by September, indicating that the reality star’s family had made changes after entering a long list of clients eligible for flow restrictions, CBS News Los Angeles reported. In contrast, the garden outside Kim Kardashian’s mansion was still “perfectly manicured green,” the TV station reported.

According to public records, Courtney’s ex-Scott Disick did not avoid flow restrictions at his Hidden Hills mansion. In late July, the water department installed the device for two weeks. Water District records indicate that someone in Disick’s home “refused” to sign a commitment form that allows customers to avoid flow restrictions by pledging to reduce water use. Representatives for Disick, The Kardashians and Hart and the Game did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Hidden Hills Palace It is said to be owned By Madonna, currently on the market for $26 million, she narrowly avoided installing a flow restrictor in July, after she trusted water district officials that a leak on the property had been fixed. Representatives for Madonna and the real estate agent did not respond to requests for comment.

House nestled among tall green trees and manicured lawns
The Hidden Hills mansion is said to be owned by Madonna who avoided installing it with a flow restrictor after fixing the leak. Photo: zilo

A handful of celebrities, including ecologist Erin Brockovich and former NBA star Dwyane Wademade public statements about what they’re doing to use less water after appearing in local news segments about bold-letter names violating drought restrictions.

Others pushed back: A representative for Sylvester Stallone said in a statement that the movie star had been trying to keep more than 500 mature trees on his property alive, had taken other measures to reduce water use, and had been working with water. neighborhood to solve the situation.

Huge deterrent effect

A residence becomes eligible for a restriction when it exceeds its 150% water limit at least four times since December 2021. But while more than 1,600 customers in the region have met those criteria, McNutt said, they have already installed the device very frugally — six Or just seven dozen installations as of early September.

The device has only been in place for two weeks, Maknott said, and the water area is not allowed to cut off access to drinking water for health reasons. So far, they said, this tactic has not faced any legal challenges.

Before cutting off water use, customers have multiple opportunities to talk to water district officials and change their ways. Even signing a letter of intent to meet conservation goals is enough to avoid flow restrictions, McNutt said, although the district will continue to check to ensure clients are complying.

McNutt and Gilmer believe that restricting flow already has a significant deterrent effect.

While driving around the area earlier in the summer, they are used to seeing lots of green lawns, despite outdoor irrigation restrictions. By August, the lawns were looking more brown. McNutt said news crews who wanted to tour water district staff as they searched for drought-busters ended up disappointed, with few, if any, rule-breakers. He and Gilmer said some families have even taken to painting their lawns green as a way to reduce water use.

As far as they know, Las Virginia is the only water area in California which use flow restrictions, but whose unique approach attracts the national interest. They’ve conducted field inquiries from Texas and Florida, as well as other California water areas. Gilmer It’s similar to devices used to slow the flow of water in agriculture, but nothing quite like it, he said, and he’s exploring a patent.

McNutt said he wishes more American celebrities could use their own skills to focus on the water crisis: “I’m asking any famous person, any of them, to come up and use their platforms to talk about water conservation, talk about climate change.”

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