Residents In Calabasas, Hidden Hills Could Face Water Restrictions If They Won’t Conserve

The City of Santa Monica is cutting off the flow to wealthy residents who don't conserve water.

Fines don't really register as an inconvenience among wealthy residents living on Santa Monica Mountain's upscale streets, so city officials are now threatening restricted flow rates that repeatedly fail conserve.

Wealthy homeowners in the Santa Monica Mountains community will face consequences if they're found to be wasting water. The Las Virgenes Municipal Water District is now doing more than just issuing fines to those that go over their allotted "water budget."

Water is becoming a precious commodity in Southern California. The reservoir run by the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, contains a six-month supply for the district's 75,000 customers.

However, the water district relies solely on imported water from Northern California, and the supply is limited.

The concern is that thousands of customers in the area are not conserving water at all.

"We don't have consistent precipitation events up north, and we don't have a lot of water for us, or don't have enough water, actually, for us to actually use here in the district," said Mike McNutt of Las Virgenes Municipal Water District.

This water district serves some of the more affluent cities in Southern California. They include Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Hidden Hills, and Westlake Village. And some of these affluent customers are going over their allotted water budget.

The water district installed 23,000 state-of-the-art meters that measure water usage very close to real-time. They know right away who is not cutting back. The water district has tried fining those customers, but for these affluent customers, it's not a deterrent.

Now, the water district says it will restrict the flow of water, to those who exceed their water budget, to get their attention.

"What we do for our end of the bargain is ensure water reliability for all of our customers," McNutt said.

There are plenty of people in this area who are helping, the district says between 50 to 60 percent of customers have been able to cut back on their water usage by as much as 25 percent.

"I don't think it's challenging. I mean, I think you do what you have to do you, you know. Just be smart about things," said Agoura Hills resident Jennifer Burns.

Retiree Robert Walker says he's been able to cut back on his water usage by 25 percent. He's replaced his front lawn with artificial grass and he's made some changes inside his home.

"Some of the shower heads inside I replaced those. And I just try to be careful. You know, when I take showers, I take shorter showers," said Walker.

For customers who are using way too much water, state law prohibits a water district to shut off the water. However, districts can control the flow to get the message across to cut back.

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