California is in an epic, four-year drought with no end in sight, everyone is required to make water cutbacks, and rich areas use the most water by far. But rich people don't want to cut back on water and shouldn't have to, because they have a lot of money, say rich people. Rancho Santa Fe, near San Diego, has often been the biggest water-user in the state—its residents use five times as much water per capita as the average Californian—but after mandatory cutbacks were announced in April, they used 9 percent more water. Their excuse? They're antisocial cretins with such out-of-control entitlement that nothing—not rules that apply to everyone equally, not the looming threat of massive environmental disaster—should stand in the way of them having what they want. Seriously, they basically say that.
The New York Times visited Rancho Santa Fe at the end of 2014 and caught residents saying some obnoxious things about their gluttonous water overusage, like "We enjoy it," but now—since its residents can't seem to manage to cut back on their own—the city will be subject to water rationing for the first time ever, beginning July 1, and they are worked up all the way to "cartoonishly evil." The Washington Post spoke to these fascinating sociopaths:
· Steve Yuhas, a conservative talk radio host, just goes ahead and says it: "[N]o, we're not all equal when it comes to water."
· On social media, he wrote that people have an apparent right to water (which is provided to them via public works projects) and "should not be forced to live on property with brown lawns, golf on brown courses or apologize for wanting their gardens to be beautiful."
· "'I think we're being overly penalized, and we're certainly being overly scrutinized by the world,' said Gay Butler, an interior designer out for a trail ride on her show horse, Bear."
· Butler, who pays an average of $800 a month for water, adds: "What are we supposed to do, just have dirt around our house on four acres?"
· Logic is definitely not Butler's strong suit: "You could put 20 houses on my property, and they'd have families of at least four. In my house, there is only two of us" …So "they'd be using a hell of a lot more water than we're using."
· Brett Barbre, a resident of rich Yorba City and member of the board of directors for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, says "They'll have to pry [his water] from my cold, dead hands." Lacking such a sense of history that he seems to think that both water and gas are eternally abundant resources that appear unbidden at the will of the gods, rather than scarce products that are available to him only as the result of costly state intervention, he "likens the freedom to buy water to the freedom to buy gasoline."
· An employee of the water district says she's heard rumors that residents started using more water after the cutbacks went into effect "in a misguided attempt to increase their baseline before rationing kicks in."
Only three water citations have been issued in Rancho Santa Fe since the cutbacks went into place, but $100 a ticket is nothing to these people. So now the water district "reserves the right" to install gadgets that'll throttle flow just a bit, and "in extreme cases," could shut off water altogether.
· Rich Californians balk at limits: 'We're not all equal when it comes to water' [Washington Post]
· 8 Excuses From the People Using the Most Water in California [Curbed LA]
· Study: Rich LA Neighborhoods Are Using More Water Than Everyone Else [Curbed LA]