Oakland Athletics executive Billy Beane blames leaky pipes for his profligate water use during California’s drought.

In a statement issued through the baseball team Friday, Beane suggested he had been unaware that he was pumping 6,000 gallons of water per day at his home in Danville’s exclusive Blackhawk subdivision.

That’s more than 20 times what the average customer uses.

“Three irrigation leaks were recently discovered and corrected,” Beane wrote, according to the Associated Press.

“We were more than displeased and embarrassed by the usage.”

Beane was the district’s third-biggest customer in the two months since the East Bay Municipal Utility District enacted a new ordinance that imposes fines for using too much water. Beane faces an “excessive use penalty” of about $800.

The utility has released the names of 1,100 customers who were hit with fines for overuse during the past two months.

The district still refuses to identify its biggest users, including an unidentified customer who lives in the wealthy enclave of Diablo in Contra Costa County, near the Diablo Country Club.

Records obtained by Reveal show that this customer pumped 3.5 million gallons of water for the year ending April 1. That’s about 10,000 gallons per day for a year – far more than Beane, and tops in the district.

The utility refuses to name this customer, saying he’s entitled to his privacy because his mega-use did not break any rules.

Meanwhile, the San Jose Mercury News reported that Beane’s neighborhood in Blackhawk, called Saddleback, has lots of other mega-users.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the amount of water used daily by a customer who pumped 3.5 million gallons in the year ending April 1. The customer used about 10,000 gallons per day.

Lance Williams is a senior reporter for Reveal, focusing on money and politics. He has twice won journalism’s George Polk Award – for medical reporting while at The Center for Investigative Reporting, and for coverage of the BALCO sports steroid scandal while at the San Francisco Chronicle. With partner Mark Fainaru-Wada, Williams wrote the national bestseller “Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroids Scandal that Rocked Professional Sports.” In 2006, the reporting duo was held in contempt of court and threatened with 18 months in federal prison for refusing to testify about their confidential sources on the BALCO investigation. The subpoenas were later withdrawn. Williams’ reporting also has been honored with the White House Correspondents’ Association’s Edgar A. Poe Award; the Gerald Loeb Award for financial reporting; and the Scripps Howard Foundation’s Award for Distinguished Service to the First Amendment. He graduated from Brown University and UC Berkeley. He also worked at the San Francisco Examiner, the Oakland Tribune and the Daily Review in Hayward, California. Williams is based in Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.

Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior reporter and producer for Reveal. She's also been a senior writer for Salon and Fast Company. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, Slate and on NPR's "All Things Considered."

Her coverage has won national awards, including the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award two years in a row, an Online News Association Award, a Webby Award and a Society of Environmental Journalists Award. Mieszkowski has a bachelor's degree from Yale University. She is based in Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.