To get out of this historic drought people from all walks of life have been pitching in, and every little bit helps. Even among celebrities, for every water-wasting Kardashian, there's a Jamie Lee Curtis, who's apparently has been living the drought-tolerant lifestyle since the 1970s, says the Hollywood Reporter, which took a look at changing (or not) attitudes toward water in some affluent LA neighborhoods. It seems the only group not helping out the cause are some of those dastardly one-percenters. It would appear that there's a growing, "new kind of wealth gap between the haves and the have mores" when it comes to water usage in these 'hoods.
The culture does seem to be changing towards a wider acceptance of the realities of drought though. Landscapers who work with wealthy clients have begun the notice an uptick in customers who are in the know about drought tolerant yards. But there still is the other, more thirsty, side of the coin. Though they could, a lot of wealthy homeowners are not leading the charge for reduced water usage. "Those who use the most water and can best afford new landscaping are not at the forefront of shifting to the needed new outdoor water use," lamented Jon Christensen, journalist-in-residence at UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.
Landscaper Marilee Kuhlmann sees two types of clients: "I think the world has been divided into two: the people who couldn't care less, who think, 'I'll use whatever I want because I can,' and then people who say, 'I want to cut back,' and they've cut back so far beyond what everyone else is doing," she told the Hollywood Reporter.
Maybe some people just have so much money, they don't need to concern themselves with drought. "There are those who seem not to care because money can buy water. One large lawn very visible on the street has a monthly water bill of as high as $28,000," an anonymous landscaper told THR. When you spend $28,000 a year on water alone, who's sweating a city water overage fine of merely $1,000?
Or maybe they're just scared to change. Landscaper Jon Goldstein saw the panic one of his Beverly Hills clients went through when Bev Hills told residents they needed to drop their water use by 36 percent. "They thought they needed to get a water truck to start bringing water to their house. They were so terrified about their investment in their garden. They must have spent $1 million over the years," Goldstein said.
Homeowners don't want to stick their necks out on this whole drought thing, and so they drag their feet. "There's a handful of people on our street that have started changing their gardens. I'm watching to see how it takes as I make my final decision," one anonymous Hancock Park homeowner said. Another landscaper says his wealthiest clients "are talking about taking out their lawns, but they're not doing it yet. Not in my circles." —Jeff Wattenhofer
· Drought Panic, Guilt, Finger-Pointing Put Hollywood to the Test [THR]
· The Kardashians Are Being Amazing Jerks About Wasting Water During the California Drought [Curbed LA]