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?

 

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest