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CBS2 Investigates: Have celebrities gotten the message about using too much water?

CBS2 Investigates: Have celebrities gotten the message about using too much water?
CBS2 Investigates: Have celebrities gotten the message about using too much water? 05:49

It's just a brown lawn, with a few patches of green grass, surrounding the pool in the backyard of Kourtney Kardashian's multi-million dollar Calabasas mansion. 

However, in August there was a lot more green — that's when CBS2's investigative reporter David Goldstein reported public water records and showed that she used way more than her allotted water budget in May.

Kardashian and hundreds of others were warned by the Las Virgenes Water District that if they didn't cut back they would be faced with a flow restrictor, a device that drastically cuts back the amount of water a residence gets. 

According to officials, the maximum a residence could get is a little under one gallon a minute compared to the typical 26 gallons a minute.

The mere threat of getting a flow restrictor, which costs about 50 cents, may be enough to force customers to conserve. 

Records CBS2 obtained from the LVWD show Kardashian's home listed under a trust went from using 245% of its water budget in May to 153% in June. It dropped to 106% in July, a 100% reduction according to the district's three-month average. Officials attribute it to the threat of the inexpensive device.

"It appears it is working," said LVWD spokesperson Joe McDermott "People are getting the message."

In July, district-wide water use was down by 32%, compared to July 2020. Outdoor watering is the biggest consumption in this district of multi-million dollar mansions in western Los Angeles County. They've been under a severe drought emergency since April. 

Since the airing of CBS2's investigation, some celebrities who are on a list of those eligible for a restrictor are now conserving.

Water records at Howie Mandel's mansion showed they used 241% of their allotted water budget in May. However, it dropped to 167% in June. It rose a little bit in July to 171%. It's a 76% reduction compared to the previous three months.

Comedian Kevin Hart's mansion had a flow restrictor installed for two weeks because records show it used 341% of its allotted water budget in May and 519% in June. However, after the restrictor was installed it was reduced by 151%. 

RELATED: CBS2 Investigates: Experts react to celebrities using excessive water amid drought restrictions

 At Sylvester Stallone's $18 million mansion in Hidden Hills, CBS2 found rolls of fake grass ready to be installed. Some of the turf has already been put down after the account in his wife's name was threatened with a flow restrictor. So far, records show there have been no water savings. Water use is actually up .41% compared to the previous three months, but district officials said they're giving them time to realize the saving before potentially installing a restrictor.

"We do have customers that are very affluent, where monetary penalties don't do the trick," said McDermott. "Measure of last resort and does seem to work."

However, not everyone is conserving. In a list obtained by CBS2, more than 2,000 customers are currently still eligible for a restrictor, including Kim Kardashian. 

The grass outside her Calabasas mansion is a perfectly-manicured green, and water records we obtained show the property, which is listed under a trust, used 290% of its budget in April, 289% in May, 378% in June and 322% in July. 

However, the district said they submitted proof of a water leak but "if they don't substantially reduce for the next month they are in line to receive a flow restriction device." 

"We're looking at what's essentially a mega-drought," said Wyland Foundation President Steve Creech.

Dedicated to preserving water, the foundation and Creech said CBS2's investigation of the rich and famous being forced to conserve opened everyone's eyes.

"I think this reporting that you've done here has made people a lot more aware of the drought itself," he said.

He added that increased awareness will help everyone. 

"We got a great place to live in Southern California," Creech said. "But if we don't manage it and recognize the climate we live in then it's not going to be a great place anymore."

CBSLA contacted representatives for the Kardasians and Stallone but did not hear back. 

Water officials said they will continue with the flow restrictors for the foreseeable future hoping people will conserve.

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