One of the most populous parts of the United States is still suffering from an ongoing drought, with Californians expected to cut back on water usage or else face steep fines. The average American family uses roughly 400 gallons every day. But one beloved American comedian has reportedly been called out for using more than five times that much, way more than the amount expected from California residents.
According to the Los Angeles Times, former SNL cast member and movie star Amy Poehler was slapped with a hefty $2,200 fine for excessive water use on her Hollywood property. Between the short span of between May 14 and July 14, 2015, Amy Poehler used well over 170,000 gallons of water, which amounts to a staggering 2,786 gallons per day. This is way more than the average American family and substantially more than Poehler was allowed.
According to QZ, the fact that city water officials in Beverly Hills publicly called out Amy Poehler is part of a larger effort to shame California residents who waste water. The idea is to make an example of celebrities so that other residents see the re-precautions of wastefulness.
In addition to Amy Poehler, media mogul David Geffen was also fined for using too much water. Between June and August of last year, Geffen used as much as 27,000 gallons of water every day, which the Los Angeles Times claims is "roughly 60 times what an average Los Angeles family uses and about 9,000 gallons more per day than what Geffen was allowed."
While there's no way to know what Amy Poehler and David Geffen used so much water on, Complex speculates many of those gallons could have gone to watering the massive Hollywood estate lawns that many wealthy celebrities own. But lawn-watering is one of many wasteful practices that California officials have gone after, encouraging people to give up their gallon-guzzling grass in exchange for yards that embrace the desert climate of the west coast state. National Geographic provided a list of five alternatives for California residents like Amy Poehler to use, such as Astroturf, pebbles, or desert plants.
Swimming pools are another water-wasting luxury that Hollywood stars like Amy Poehler potentially own, and much of that usage could be attributed to individuals that the property owners employ, such as cleaners or gardeners. Simply working to maintain a large property could send thousands of gallons down the drain every day.
Of course, there are some basic daily water needs for every American, which the United States Environmental Protection Agency has factored in. The World Health Organization claims that for basic food and hygiene needs, a single person need not exceed five gallons per day, including bathing and hydrating.
With the average American using about 100 gallons per day, it seems reasonable for Amy Poehler, David Geffen, and the rest of California to cut down the 25 percent ordered by the State Water Resources Control Board. And it seems that whatever tactics the board is using to reduce water usage are working, because the city of Los Angeles has reported a reduction of 26 percent, no thanks to Amy Poehler.
"We believe that the penalty surcharges have had an impact," said city spokeswoman Therese Kosterman. "Many different tools are necessary in order to achieve... deep cuts in water conservation."
Perhaps the idea of publicly shaming celebrities like Amy Poehler and David Geffen will have an even bigger impact on Californians in weeks to come.
Do you think it was right to publicize the fines charged to Amy Poehler for her excessive water usage?
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