The Center For Investigative Reporting has a scandalous expose on the hypocritical practices of public servants who waste millions of gallons watering their own desert lawns while demanding that other Californians conserve.

California is suffering one of its worst droughts, forcing lawmakers to make difficult decisions about water usage. But not everyone follows his or her own mandates. Meet Mike Soubirous of Riverside, Calif., who voted in the city council to limit lawn watering to four days a week. Nonetheless, reporters found the sprinklers running every night at Soubirous’ palatial home. How else is he supposed to maintain an acre of verdant lawns, shrubs and that giant weeping willow? “Do I have to sell my house to set that example, or do I have to just abolish all my shrubs?” he asked CIR.

According to the investigators, Soubirous was one of three officials who used more than a million gallons a year. The problem is more widespread than a few over-the-top bad actors.

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.


— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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