Californians parched by an aggressive and persistent drought learned Thursday that their pain is not shared equally by all their neighbors.
In fact, according to data compiled by the East Bay Municipal Utilities District (EBMUD) and shared with this site, there are some among us for whom the idea of showering with a bucket or saving grey water for their gardens may be regarded merely as a quaint, fleeting thought.
As you might expect, many of these “soakers” are both well off and well known and the retort “I pay for it, I’ll use it…” seems to be a standard response.
Topping the list is retired Big Oil executive George Kirkland, who burns through 12,579 gallons of water per day according to EBMUD – about 50 times the district average and waaaay out of sight for normal households using less than 250 gallons of precious aqua pura per day.
Kirkland told the Contra Costa Times that his excess was due to a leak in the drip system he uses to irrigate his vineyard.
Soakers on the EBMUD list have been slapped with penalties for excessive use, according to the utilities district, but many argue the fines merely roll off the wealthy like, well, water of a duck’s back.
EBMUD has set out to beat a state mandate to cut water use in the water district by 16 percent, instead seeking a 20 percent cut in water use and saving as much as 30 percent in some months – but some still appear to be using as much as they please.
More names are expected to be added to the list of excessive water users, EBMUD has said, as the district’s billing cycle rolls through its normal two-month period. All those appearing on the list released Thursday were admonished that they would be penalized if they exceeded the 1,000-gallon daily limit.
- George Kirkland, Danville —- 12,578.87 Gallons Per Day
- Mark Pine, Alamo —- 8,090.87
- William Beane, Danville —- 5,996.47
- Dane Bigham, Walnut Creek – 5,747.13
- Gene Yee, San Leandro —- 5,659.87
- Gurpreet Sangha, Danville — 4,924.33
- Gregory Pickett, Alamo —- 4,911.87
- Dennis Baca, Danville —- 4,874.47
- Lisa Chorbajian, Danville —- 4,512.93
- Nora Cregan, Piedmont —- 4,363.33
- Derek Benham, Piedmont —- 3,939.47
- Michael Rubinstein, Orinda —- 3,864.67
- Stephanie Sposeto, Danville — 3,802.33
- Christopher Pulver, Alamo — 3,640.27
- Holly Blessing, Danville —- 3,615.33
- Fred Wilson, Alamo —- 3,602.87
- William Pastina, San Leandro —3,602.87
- Bimal Patel Md, Lafayette —-3,590.40
- William Thompson, Orinda —- 3,577.93
- Russ Stewart, Alamo —- 3,540.53
- Doris Kirk, San Leandro —- 3,428.33
- Sally Sakuma, Danville —- 3,378.47
- Sharda Metha, Orinda —- 3,303.67
wow. that’s a lot of water. hope his grapes are happy.
I’m shocked, shocked!! to find that the Top Water Waster is a former Big Oil head. The correlation defies all logic.
Let them eat cake.
LOL Let them eat cake – love it!
Just post the addresses and we’ll make sure their water usage is curtailed. You know, civic duty and all.
This is sad. Penalizing the wealthy (financially) is ineffectual. Send a strong message, and turn off their water. These people need a wake-up call.
Beyond some baseline/lifeline allowance, why isn’t water like power where we use the price system to match supply and demand? Extra profits from extreme prices in droughts can be used to retire infrastructure bonds and/or add capacity to address systemic issues.
Drive through the central valley. If the water shortage were so serious that we had to shame people with green lawns, we would not be growing water-intensive commodity crops. Water is water. Give me a break.
Alfalfa needs about 1,500,000 gallons per acre per year. The top-line gross revenue (NOT profit) from the resultant crop is about $1,500. Do the math. If he’ll pay, why shame the Oil Exec, but subsidize the agribusiness?
There are two droughts in California – there’s the rich man’s drought and there’s the drought for the rest of us.
Not fair. Not right. Not Californian.
So they’re using a lot of water. Big deal. Charge them a penalty and move on.
I hate water wasters but we are wasting precious time and energy holding the residential user to blame for water waste when agribusiness – especially the production of commercial meat – abuses so much water. When will that conversation start? And if we are truly so concerned about our water supply, why aren’t we processing our waste water through the final stages of purification rather than letting it out into the Delta? Even without purification it could at least be used for industrial purposes. Places like our oil refineries pump many gallons of our purified water into their refineries daily. Where is our water truly being wasted?
Proving again that just having a lot of money doesn’t mean you have a lot of class.
Sad. Hearing them trying to explain it was worse.
Just not right. The people defending this abuse should be ashamed.