Last year, investigative journalism outlet Reveal, revealed that the biggest individual water user in Los Angeles resides in Bel Air and used 11.8 million gallons of water in the year-long period ending April, 2015. That’s enough water to serve about 90 families; it’s also the most water consumed by a single household across California in areas where water agencies were willing to release consumer data.
While the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power agreed to release usage information on their thirstiest customers, the utility company declined to include the names or addresses of users, leaving plenty of ordinary people—and at least one Los Angeles Times reporter—to wonder: who on earth needs so much H2O in their life?
Now, Reveal is back with a few hypotheses. They’ve crunched the numbers, analyzed satellite imagery, and looked very closely at metrics like "Normalized Difference Vegetation Index" and "Tasseled Cap Wetness" (no we didn’t make up that second one, though we kind of wish we had).
Using these techniques, Reveal has narrowed down the possible suspects to a list of seven property owners who—11.8 million gallons or not—are certainly among the city’s biggest water guzzlers. We’ll call them the soaking wet seven:
One of the state’s top political donors, according to Forbes, Perenchio—a former Hollywood producer and ex-Univision chairman—quite fittingly lives in the mansion used for exterior shots on The Beverly Hillbillies. Remarkably, the 13-acre estate isn’t even Perenchio’s most opulent property. That would be his other home in Malibu that includes a 10-acre golf course he illegally built for his wife in the 1980s. In 2004, as the Los Angeles Times reports, Perenchio cut a deal with the state, allowing him to keep the course in return for his agreement to donate it to the state after his death and the death of his wife.
Winnick, an investment banker, is the current owner of hotelier Conrad Hilton’s onetime home, known alternatively as "Casa Encantada" and "Bellagio House."
Guber is the CEO of Mandalay Entertainment and a part-owner of both the Dodgers and Golden State Warriors. He also tells the New York Times he's among the 10 best blackjack players in the world.
Nancy Walton Laurie
If this Wal Mart heiress is the city’s biggest water user, her neighbor may soon eclipse her. Laurie lives next to Mohamed Hadid and the ever-expanding, insanely unpermitted megamansion he’s been working on for the past few years. In fact, Laurie at one point sued Hadid over damage to a Eucalyptus tree on her property.
A longtime CBS executive and former chairman of both the Dodgers and Warner Brothers, Daly actually replied to Reveal’s request for comment, saying he’s working on cutting back his water consumption and that he "can’t help the fact that I own a lot of property."
Alagem, who owns the Berverly Hilton and is currently asking voters to approve a 26-story tower next door, is fortunate enough to live outside of the city of Beverly Hills—where water officials released drought-shaming information about the city’s biggest consumers in March.
Bradley Bell and Colleen Bell
Head over to Reveal for more information on each of these copious water users, along with satellite photos and some pretty impressive visuals detailing just how lush their properties are compared to surrounding areas.