Environment & Science

Drought: Calif. water officials calling for conservation waste more than average

A joint investigation from the Center for Investigative Reporting and NBC4 has found that many officials calling on residents to conserve water are themselves heavy water users.
A joint investigation from the Center for Investigative Reporting and NBC4 has found that many officials calling on residents to conserve water are themselves heavy water users.
NBC4

Some of the very same local officials calling on residents to cut down on water use to help the state weather a crippling drought are proving to be excessive consumers themselves, according to a new report from the Center for Investigative Reporting and NBC4.

Example: Riverside City Councilmember Mike Soubirous voted to impose new rules forbidding watering more than four times a week, yet sprinklers at his home were shown on video running seven nights in a row. Soubirous consumes more than 1 million gallons per year at his lushly landscaped home, according to CIR.

Soubirous represents what appears to be a trend, CIR reports:

Water bills obtained via the state's Public Records Act show that in 2013, nearly half of the officials who supervise the state's biggest water agencies used more water than the typical California household.

And water officials tended not to cut back as the drought persisted. Even as their agencies scolded ratepayers on conservation, 60 percent of these officials used more water in 2013 than they had in 2012, records show.

You can read the full story from CIR here and watch the NBC4 joint investigation below: