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Rich athletes top Bay Area water users
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OAKLAND (AP) — Maybe it’s something in the Gatorade.
A number of professional athletes and sports executives rank among the San Francisco Bay Area residents being fined for using too much water amid California’s historic drought.
Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane, San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, former champion figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi, retired NFL running back Maurice Jones-Drew and Sacramento Kings co-owner Mark Mastrov were among 1,862 East Bay Municipal Utility District customers cited for excessive water consumption this fall, The Oakland Tribune reported.
To encourage conservation, the utility this summer started charging customers an extra $2 for every 748 gallons of water they used above a 60-day limit of 1,000 gallons per day.
The utility released on Thursday the latest list of homeowners subject to the penalties for the billing cycles that ended in October or November in response to public records requests by the Tribune and other news organizations.
Beane, whose home used 3,565 gallons per day, and Mastrov, who averaged 10,456 gallons, both attributed their high usage to leaks that had gone undetected on their properties and have since been plugged.
“We had a huge pipe break, and we were gone for three days, and the water just ran for three days into the creek,” said Mastrov, who founded the 24 Hour Fitness chain. “It’s no different than happens to a lot of people.”
The A’s released a statement on Beane’s behalf saying he had taken “immediate and continued action” to save water, including shutting down the irrigation system on his property, after he was cited over the summer for using 6,000 gallons a day.
The East Bay Municipal Utility District serves about 1.5 million properties in a 331-square-mile area that includes cities such as Berkeley and Oakland, as well as more rural suburbs where many of the homeowners facing fines live.
Although customers are penalized for using more than 1,000 gallons of water day, the average residential user draws one-fourth that much, the Tribune said.