It can be difficult to figure out who or what should be held accountable during a drought. Mother Nature? Barometric pressure? Pobrecito El Niño?
Beyond the weather, though, there’s another pattern emerging in California’s historic drought: Vital information is being kept secret.
Here’s a list of what’s being hidden in these dry times:
1. Government agencies are withholding the names of wealthy residents who continue to use staggering amounts of water.
One household in Bel Air used nearly 12 million gallons in a year. That’s enough for 90 families – and a $90,000 water bill. But the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power won’t say who he or she is. So we’ve been left to wonder who this mysterious Wet Prince of Bel Air could be. A drought posse has even been rounded up in Los Angeles.
This guzzler isn’t alone. Reveal reporters Lance Williams and Katharine Mieszkowski have discovered that hundreds of California residents use more than 1 million gallons a year. Their names are being shielded by the government, too. This is despite evidence that naming and shaming works – just ask former Oakland A’s slugger Mark McGwire and current A’s mastermind Billy Beane.
2. Other government agencies won’t say how much water their biggest residential customers use.
We know about those big water guzzlers only because water agencies in places like San Diego, Los Angeles and Oakland coughed up a list of their top users without names attached.