Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Times released a report on several celebrities’ excessive water usage amid the current drought in California, which has been listed as its worst on record.
All 58 counties within the state have been under drought emergency proclamation since January. A second set of regulations came into effect in June, all of which require California residents to take certain measures in a bid to preserve the minimal water available.
Officials have urged people to avoid overwatering trees and plants and to turn off irrigation systems when it’s raining, to name just a couple of these regulations in place.
With this in mind, several internet users were outraged to learn of various celebrities’ excessive water usage during the ongoing drought, per the LA Times’ report.
According to the outlet, the famous figures received formal notices about their limits from the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, which runs the water service for Calabasas, Hidden Hills, and other LA suburbs. These “notices of exceedance” were reportedly sent to over 2,000 customers in May and June.
Among the list of celebrities in question were sisters Kim and Kourtney Kardashian, who have reportedly exceeded their limits by a combined total of over 300,000 gallons this summer alone.
For some context, the average person uses about 3,000 gallons of water in a month, while generic household faults — such as leaking faucets or toilets — can result in tens of thousands more gallons wasted.
Two of Kim’s properties situated in the Hidden Hills purportedly went over their water limit by 230,000 gallons, while Kourtney’s 2-acre Calabasas home was 101,000 gallons over the permitted mark. A representative for the sisters did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News’ request for comment on these figures.
Also among the names outed by LA Times was actor and comedian Kevin Hart, whose 26-acre Calabasas property exceeded its water budget by 117,000 gallons in June.
Meanwhile, Sylvester Stallone and his now-estranged wife Jennifer Flavin’s 3-acre home in the Hidden Hills is said to have exceeded its water limit by 195,000 gallons in May, before going over by 230,000 the following month.
Sylvester’s attorney, Marty Singer, provided a statement to the LA Times saying that these numbers could “mischaracterize and misrepresent the situation regarding the water usage” at the actor's property.
“They have more than 500 mature trees on the property, including innumerable fruit trees as well as pine trees,” Singer wrote. “Absent adequate watering, in all likelihood they would die. That could result in dead or damaged trees falling on my client’s property or neighboring properties.”
“My client has been addressing the situation responsibly and proactively. They have let grasses die, and other areas are watered by a drip irrigation system,” he went on. “They also notified the city regarding the mature trees, and are awaiting an inspection and further instruction from the city about how to proceed.”
“I am confident that all of the larger properties in the area have similar issues. I therefore trust that my client will not be unfairly singled out in the story because he is a famous person,” Singer concluded.
However, the most excessive water usage came from former basketball player Dwayne Wade and his wife, actor Gabrielle Union, who reportedly used a whopping 489,000 gallons of water in May.
The couple purportedly used up a further 90,000 gallons in June, meaning that their $18 million Hidden Hills property exceeded its water limits by 1,400%.
In response to the shocking figures, Dwayne and Gabrielle’s spokesperson provided a statement claiming that they’ve been doing “everything” they can to “rectify the situation,” before vowing to ensure that this “isn’t an issue moving forward.”
“We have been doing everything we can to rectify the situation and will continue to go to extensive lengths to resolve the issue,” they said. “We have replaced all parts of our pool system that [have] to do with water flow and leakage in addition to converting to synthetic grass and drought tolerant plants to reduce our water usage.”
The spokesperson added, “We will continue to work with the city and the water distribution company to make sure this isn’t an issue moving forward.”
In the days since the piece was published, readers have taken to Twitter and Reddit to express their outrage at the excessive water usage.
“this is so sick that celebs are using up this much water.... and dont say well ‘what about the corporations’ i promise a food factory and kim k using the same amount of water is an issue,” one person wrote, while others labeled the Skims founder “entitled” and “out of touch.”
“Didn’t you know? The rich are exempt. It’s only the poor people who have to live with and pay for climate change,” one Reddit user wrote.
“if you can afford a giant fucking estate, you can afford a grey water system,” noted another, referring to the reuse of uncontaminated wastewater from washbasins, showers, and baths.