Daily Mail: California is currently in the fourth year of its worst drought in history, but the rich and famous residents of Los Angeles are still keeping up with the Kardashians when it comes to their over-the-top landscaping.
Residents across California have been demolishing pools, cutting back on showers and letting their lawns turn brown after experts estimated that there will be less than a year’s worth of drinking water left in the state’s reservoirs by the end of 2015.
But for the residents of Los Angeles’ wealthy enclaves, a $100 fine for wasting water is chump change and a fee they are apparently glad to pay in order to maintain their almost fluorescent green lawns.
Photographer John Chapple recently went out in a helicopter to photograph these private oasis and found the mega-mansions owned by Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez and heiress Petra Eccelstone to be among the worst.
‘The Kardashian flowers and hedges are right in our face,’ a neighbor of West and Kardashian in Hidden Hills told the New York Post. ‘It’s disgusting. You walk by and you can smell the freshness.’ The reality star previously claimed that she was washing her hair only every five days in response to the drought, a move she called ‘a little excessive, maybe.’
Sister Khloe Kardashian may be alienating some of her new neighbors with the ever-green landscaping at the Calabasas mansion she purchased from pop-star Justin Bieber last year.
Signs of the crippling drought were not at all sight at the homes of singers Jennifer Lopez and Jessica Simpson either.
A neighbor of Lopez says the American Idol judge has been approached before to tame down her lawns but didn’t seem to care. ‘She has been pretty dismissive. She has said, “Oh, so I’ll just pay some fines, what are they going to do?”‘ the source told the Post.
And of course the lawns at the notorious Playboy Mansion remain well manicured, where magazine mogul Hugh Hefner keeps residence with his 60 years younger wife.
While this devotion to appearances may not be entirely unexpected from style-obsessed stars like the Kardashians, it is shocking to see Barbra Streisand’s yard just as green when she has been a proponent for energy conservation. A spokesman for Streisand issued a statement to the Post, claiming she had cut down her water usage by over 50 per cent in the past several months but it certainly doesn’t show by her full pool and manicured lawn.
Meanwhile, British Formula One heiress Petra Ecclestone’s estate is as green as ever though she reportedly doesn’t spend much time in Los Angeles. Ecclestone bought the estate in 2011 for $85million from Aaron Spelling’s widow Candy.
But the grass wasn’t always greener on the celebrity’s side of the fence. Jennifer Aniston pulled out the water-sucking vineyard on her Bel-Air estate and planted drought-resistant succulent plants across the property instead. And while singer Cher’s relatively-small yard of grass was very well watered, she has also opted for an orchard of water-saving palm trees in her front yard.
Actress Julia Roberts, perhaps inspired by her role as environmental advocate Erin Brokovich, has started to let patches of her lawn turn brown and has also installed solar panels on her roof.
And other celebrities have taken alternative measures to contribute to the water-conservation effort. Former X Factor judge Sharon Osbourne, 62, said she and her husband Ozzy, of Black Sabbath, reserve flushing the toilet as much as possible. ‘When I pee, I don’t flush,’ Osbourne said. That sentiment was echoed by Cameron Diaz. The 42-year-old said: ‘Only when I do number two, I flush. If it’s yellow leave it mellow; if it’s brown flush it down.’
Others have written checks to help the thirsty state. William Shatner launched a campaign to raise $30billion for a pipeline from rainy Seattle to California (perhaps ill-advised since Washington State is also going through a drought) while Lady Gaga donated $25,000 to a water supply study.
In response to the crippling drought, Gov Jerry Brown has enacted even tighter rules on water consumption calling for an up to 36 per cent cut.
Las Virgenes Municpal Water District which, supplies many of these opulent homes with their water supplies, says they are trying to get A-listers ‘on the bus’ but that a maximum fine of $100 dollars doesn’t exactly inspire huge motivation to millionaires.
Gov Brown promised to get new legislation passed that could up the penalty to a $10,000 fine, though no such bill has been introduced as of yet.