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Barbra Streisand — the lefty diva who’s lectured fellow Californians and even US Presidents on energy conservation — seems oblivious to the fact the Golden State is turning into a dried-out raisin. Her pampered sprawl sticks out like a green thumb in aerial photos.
Experts predict California reservoirs have less than a year’s worth of drinking water left. An emergency law passed last week forces local cities to conserve water immediately. The Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, which supplies many of these elite enclaves north of Los Angeles, will have four weeks starting next month to cut water use by a staggering 36 percent. But the mandate is toothless, with the maximum fine a paltry $100.
The Hidden Hills estate of Kim Kardashian/Kanye West is so lush, even their wealthy neighbors are outraged.
The correlation between income and water use makes an emerald lawn symbolize an economic divide, said Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute, a research and policy group in Oakland.
Water is unevenly distributed; poor communities in the Central Valley also receive water by tanker, but to drink, not moisten greenery, he said.
“How would we feel if you could pay extra to smoke on airplanes?” Gleick said. “When we decide something is a bad idea in general for society, we don’t want the rich to be able to buy their way out of it.”
As much as 80 percent of urban water nourishes outdoor landscaping, a feature in ample supply on the sprawling estates of Montecito, an unincorporated hamlet of 9,000 people located 90 miles (145 kilometers) up the coast from Los Angeles.
You will note not a one of the homes has a solar panel on the roof.