Credit: John Murphy

With the drought in full effect in California, a Los Angeles city councilman is seeking to implement water conservation measures. In early October, Paul Koretz, representing the city’s 5th district, introduced a motion that requires the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to suggest conservation measures by mid-November. By way of illustration, Koretz told of a homeowner in Bel-Air, Calif., who uses 1,300 gallons of water per hour — enough to maintain 90 normal households.
“In such a horrific drought, it is irresponsible to be using water at such a rate – and a slap in the face to neighbors who have heroically complied with austere water use measures,” Koretz said in his motion filing.
Among the speculation as to what kinds of measures will be proposed, some believe the city will consider a “name and shame” program. Used in Las Vegas, such programs involve exposing citizens who are considered water wasters. However, that would be tough to do because of the California Public Records Act, which bars cities in California from releasing customer data.
However, such records are available via Freedom of Information Act requests. One such request revealed that Billy Beane, the executive vice president of the Oakland Athletics, has the highest water usage rate in Northern California among private citizens.
Naming and shaming occurred in Los Angeles during the last drought, which took place in the 1990s. In 1991, the Los Angeles Times reported that Helen Copley, the publisher of the San Diego Tribune at the time, used more than 10,000 gallons of water a day at her estate.
Andy Shrader, the Director of Environmental Affairs, Water Policy & Sustainability for Councilman Koretz, downplayed the concerns.
“When DWP reports back in 30 days we will know which options are on the table,” he said.