Amid the searing drought and strict water regulations in California, residents of a posh West Los Angeles neighborhood are trying to track down an unidentified offender who has guzzled an astonishing 11.8 million gallons of precious resource in one year.
Dwelling in one of the richest residential enclaves in the United States, the thirsty resident’s identity remains a mystery. However, due to his atrocious and prodigious overuse of water, infuriated neighbors have dubbed him the “Wet Prince of Bel-Air.”
While people all over the parched state are making painful sacrifices to cut back on their water usage, this unknown water hog has wasted enough amount of water to flush a toilet 20,000 times a day for an entire year, to fill an Olympic swimming pool every three weeks, or the Royal Albert Hall in two years.
Moreover, the extravagant water consumption could have sustained around 90 average California households, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting, which also revealed that the prince’s annual water bill likely topped $90,000.
“It’s hard to imagine how someone could use so much water,” Max Gomberg, climate and conservation manager at the State Water Resources Control Board, told the Guardian. “It’s appalling. What are they doing on that property?”
In a state where washing a car with a hose can lead to a $500 fine, the Wet Prince of Bel Air has certainly irked a lot of local residents, who are desperate to find out the true identity of the state’s top water offender.
“It’s selfish and self-indulgent,” said local resident Kate Stensland. “What’s the bottom line? For these people it seems to be: ‘Well, it’s not me, not my world, it has nothing to do with me.’”
Apparently, many wealthy Californians choose to pay the fines and continue with their normal water usage — filling their humongous pools, watering their expansive lawns and having extravagant fountains. However, these fines are too much to bear for average earning households and can cause financial panic among lower-income homes.
Even though the state officials claim that they can turn the water off after repeated violations, there have been no reported cases of the extreme measure as of yet — and after a year of water wastage in Bel-Air, it seems unlikely that the authorities will take any concrete measures to put a stop to this man’s unregulated water consumption.
Since the Los Angeles city has refused to reveal the identity of Wet Prince of Bel Air, L.A.Times has noted that a “drought posse” has formed to study the flow of water through gutters in an attempt to find who is using all the water.
While this group has employed drones to monitor the situation, some neighbors believe that it is not one single person who is using all this water. They believe its several people who are using the precious resource.