The fact that California is experiencing a drought and significant water shortages doesn't mean that every Southern California resident is saving water. As seen in the above CBS video, one Bel Air home sucked up nearly 12 million gallons of water in one year -- 11.8 million gallons to be exact. The single Bel Air home received a water bill for approximately $90,000 in a year due to its high water consumption, news that's going viral online.
While the name of the Bel Air homeowner who is a super water user isn't being published -- likely to spare him or her from the fury that would show up at their water-sucking doorstep -- they are being dubbed the "Wet Prince of Bel Air" by sites like Reveal News. Even folks who don't live in California have likely heard of Bel Air, and know that it's a ritzy area of high-class homes that was the centerpiece of the Will Smith TV vehicle the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Even visitors driving around California on sightseeing trips have discovered that certain parts of Bel Air can't be reached by normal tourists, with security guards turning away celebrity seekers from Bel Air.
Either way, the unnamed Californian who guzzled 11.8 million gallons of water in only 12 months, costing that Bel Air homeowner about $90,000 for the year, is making big buzz on the web. The fact that the Bel Air homeowner has seemingly disregarded the California drought in order to keep the lawns (and whatever else) of their own West Los Angeles neighborhood home plush and lush is striking a negative chord as the story spreads online.
Those nearly 12 million gallons of water for the one Bel Air home could've flourished and functioned for as many as 90 households instead of just one. The 90077 ZIP code that houses Bel Air is an area that represents California's biggest water users. The 12 months in question ended April 1st -- and the records were gleaned via the Department of Water and Power's rate structure, and analyzed using those stats.
Despite the large numbers coming out of the water company records, with city officials in various cities not allowed to disclose personal names in some locations, those who suck up a lot of California's water likely won't face fines. Those who are given heavy fines because they might water outside of the days they should or use more water at a rate that's higher than average may simply pay them and move on, anonymously. Due to privacy concerns, those folks' names aren't usually published.
Not all water agencies are slapping fees on people who use too much water in California -- with only a couple of agencies giving water fees to folks who use too much. Those two water agencies are located in Oakland and in Coachella Valley.