As part of California's new mandatory, statewide water cutbacks, Las Virgenes Municipal Water District—which serves the fancy neighborhoods of Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Hidden Hills, and Westlake Village, plus small portions of unincorporated LA County like Chatsworth and the Santa Monica Mountains near Malibu—has to use 36 percent less water this year, and to help them meet their goals, they've hired security to patrol neighborhoods day and night and make sure everyone's complying, says KPCC. Starting today, around-the-clock rent-a-cops in marked cars will travel through the district—including the gated communities that house plenty of celebs who've already been called out for their excessive water use—and "document violations in reports and photos that will be submitted to the water district at the end of each day."
Nearly 70 percent of the water usage in the area goes toward outdoor uses, a water district rep says, so these patrols will be aiming to reduce instances of wrong-day watering and runoff (incidentally, these violations are the source of a majority of wasted-water complaints to the LADWP too). Just like in LA, Las Virgenes customers are subject to odd/even water restrictions (addresses dictate which days a property can and can't water outdoors) and are not allowed to let water runoff into the street, which is most often caused by overwatering.
There's plenty of room for cutting back, though. Last summer, the Las Virgenes district used 287 gallons per person every day—up 9 percent from their 2013 usage and more than three times the 91 gallons per capita that the LADWP logged for its customers (mostly in the city of LA), according to an interactive map detailing water district consumption in California.
Yes, that does mean that many verdant landscapes in the Las Virgenes territory will get a little crispy-looking, but in the end, it's just a lawn, which is basically a decoration. "We realize some downsizing of irrigated lawn and garden areas may be needed," says the water district's general manager in a release announcing the district's new hires. "However, those losses pale in comparison to the several upstate communities that now have water trucked in because their wells have gone dry."
Water-guzzlers will get warnings at first, then fines will start at $100 and go up to $500. Small change for some of the wealthier people around there, but if the fines don't work, the district warns that the next step could be the installation of "a flow restriction device or ... the termination of service." If all is right with this world, there will be a reality show that follows the water police around.
· Las Virgenes water district hires firm to patrol violations 24/7 [SCPR]
· LVMWD Increases Drought Enforcement Activities [LVWMD]
· Mapping/Shaming the Most Water-Guzzling Places in SoCal[Curbed LA]
· Kim and Kanye Neighbors Disgusted By Flower Freshness in Midst of Drought [Curbed LA]