Check Out the Homes of Some of the Bay Area’s Biggest Water Guzzlers—Including Billy Beane

The Oakland A’s exec is named and shamed for excessive water use.


One of the most frustrating things about the ongoing California drought is knowing that some people just don’t give a damn. Letting your lawn die and your toilet bowl turn yellow can seem absurd when you know that a few water hogs are keeping their gardens as green as Costa Rican golf courses (like the mystery Bel Air resident who uses 12 million gallons per year).

Citing privacy concerns, every major California water district has refused to name their biggest users. Until today.

The East Bay Municipal Utility District just released a partial list of homeowners who have violated its new excessive-water-use rules. In this district encompassing the cities and hills east of San Francisco, scofflaws are defined as those whose daily usage exceeds 1,000 gallons—four times the residential average of 250 gallons a day.

The EBMUD’s list of shame only covers customers who are billed in September, and excludes any who filed appeals. Yet it reveals many cases of egregious water use among the owners of massive properties in the East Bay hills. One of the largest violators is Oakland A’s executive Billy Beane, whose team is known as one of the most eco-friendly in baseball.

Here are the top five water guzzlers on the water district’s list—and aerial snapshots of their homes:

1. George Kirkland, former vice chairman of Chevron
Daily water use: 12,579 gallons
Location: Danville, California
Property value: $3.5 million
Mitigating factor: Kirkland told the San Jose Mercury News that there was a leak in a water line to the two acres of vineyards on his four-acre lot.

 

2. Mark Pine, venture capitalist
Daily water use: 8,091 gallons
Location: Alamo, California
Property value: $6.9 million

 

3. Billy Beane, vice president of baseball operations and minority owner of the Oakland A’s
Daily water use: 5,996 gallons
Location: Danville, California
Property value: $4.8 million

 

4. Dane Bigham, software executive
Daily water use: 5,747 gallons
Location: Walnut Creek, California
Property value: $891,000

 

5. Gene Yee, intellectual property attorney
Daily water use: 5,659 gallons
Location: San Leandro, California
Property value: $269,000
Mitigating factor: Yee’s water use is hard to explain given that he has very little landscaping. Perhaps he also has a leak?

 

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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