Sacramento-based environment/climate reporter Kathleen Ronayne reported exclusively on a California water district — home to Kim Kardashian and other celebrities — that may have the state’s harshest water restrictions during the current drought.
The Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, just north of Los Angeles, is among districts that rely almost exclusively on state water supplies. Ronayne learned of the district’s new penalties for water wasters while reporting that in the midst of drought, local districts may not get any of the state water supply they’d requested in 2022. She decided to find out more, reasoning that what’s being imposed in Las Virgenes may serve as a model for other water districts as the drought continues.
When Las Virgenes officials explained they would slow water flow to a trickle for households that keep wasting, Ronayne knew she had a story. With further reporting, she confirmed that the district's conservation tactics went further than others.
Ronayne’s exclusive on the district’s approach hooked readers, partly because Las Virgenes serves celebrity-filled neighborhoods. District officials said many rich residents don't bother to cut back when fined; water isn't an expensive commodity for them and the penalties aren’t significant — until the water slows to a trickle.