Report: California Homeowner Dubbed ‘Wet Prince of Bel Air’ Used 11.8M Gallons of Water in 1 Year
iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) — A homeowner in Los Angeles, dubbed the “Wet Prince of Bel Air” for reportedly using 11.8 million gallons of water last year during California’s drought, remains unidentified by authorities, but the Center of Investigative Reporting has narrowed the list of possible perpetrators to seven.
Senior News Applications Developer Michael Corey and Senior Reporter Lance Williams for the Center of Investigative Reporting released new details on the possible water-wasting culprits based on satellite images, an algorithm developed to track drought and deforestation, and equations used in landscape planning.
The report estimates were not precise enough to pinpoint one particular Los Angeles home, but narrowed down the extreme water users within the Bel Air neighborhood that included some of the wealthiest people living in some of the city’s most expensive homes.
Corey and Williams said they were essentially looking for “the greenest and wettest yard.”
One possible home in question, owned by a retired broadcast CEO with a six-acre yard, showed usage from April 2013 to April 2015 equivalent to flushing a toilet repeatedly day and night for an entire year.
“This much waste has got to be mostly landscaping,” Corey told ABC News.
Other possible top offenders that made the list included homes of a retail heiress and a soap opera producer, both of whom gave no comment to ABC News.
A well-known hotelier, a telecoms mogul and a one-time studio boss all told ABC News they have cut back on water and taken steps to dramatically reduce usage since the issue was brought to their attention.
The investigative duo reached out to one of the homeowners and Williams said, “He didn’t water his yard so much,” after they contacted him.
“His yard started getting brown,” Corey added.
Due to California state law, over-hydration is not a crime as long as payment is made for the water being used.
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