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California’s Liberal Cities and the Drought

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California’s historic drought provoked an unprecedented executive order by Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday, mandating a 25% cut in statewide water use. Yet, for the 38 million people who live on the Golden-State’s now uber-dry surface, lax leadership, management and proper upkeep have contributed to the crisis in our most precious liquid commodity. And it’s in the state’s most liberal cities where the worst mismanagement has often taken place.

Los Angeles, for example, has seen several maintenance issues recently that have resulted in the loss of tremendous amounts of water as old mains in dire need of replacement have ruptured.

In July of last year, a 90-year-old water main erupted, releasing over 10 million gallons of water onto UCLA’s campus and Sunset Boulevard. The Pauley Pavilion, which is home to the school’s Bruins basketball team, had just undergone $130 million in renovations when it was flooded.

Just two months later, the infamously wild Playboy Mansion got soaking wet when a 12-inch case iron main from 1969 ruptured during rush hour, making it one of 20 homes affected in the midst of the driest drought Cali has seen.

And in February of this year, a water main from 1916 broke in the Hollywood Hills which let 100,000 gallons of water loose, damaging condos, cars and even sidewalks. The Department of Water and Power has been increasing the cost of utilities but has not seemed to invest enough in upgrading old infrastructure.

To the north, three of the largest Bay Area water agencies (the Santa Clara Valley Water District, the East Bay Municipal Utility District and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission) announced this March that they are considering a 30% increase in rate hikes.

Meanwhile, the top executives of at each of these Bay Area water districts are taking home paychecks that more than double what California’s top government official, Gov. Jerry Brown takes home.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz


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