California Drought: Oakland A’s Billy Beane is among top East Bay water users

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Oakland Athletics executive Billy Beane and a retired Chevron Oil executive are among the top excessive water users in a district east of San Francisco, a utility’s records show.

A September report from the East Bay Municipal Utility District shows Beane, who was the subject of the Oscar-nominated film “Moneyball,” used about 6,000 gallons of water daily.

The district released the names and consumption in response to a public records request by the San Jose Mercury News and other media outlets covering the drought.

Beane released a statement through the Oakland A’s.

“Three irrigation leaks were recently discovered and corrected. We were more than displeased and embarrassed by the usage,” Beane said.

Retired Chevron Oil executive George Kirkland tops the list by using more than 12,000 gallons of water a day — 48 times the district average. He also pointed to previously undetected seepage.

“I didn’t realize I had a leak until I got the water bill,” Kirkland, who irrigates his vineyard with drip irrigation, told the newspaper. “Drip irrigation doesn’t help if you have a leak you didn’t know about.”

George L. Kirkland was Chevron’s vice chairman and executive vice president. He started with the company in 1974 and retired in June.

Second on the list at 8,091 gallons of water per day was Mark Pine, a longtime venture capitalist living in Alamo.

All face fines for using more than 1,000 gallons of water per day.

The majority of the excess users were in warmer, more affluent Contra Costa County communities with large yards, including Alamo, Danville, Orinda and Lafayette, the newspaper reported.

District board members said they adopted the excess water-use penalties to give high users a message to conserve, although some critics argued wealthy customers would not be deterred by the penalties.

District spokeswoman Abby Figueroa said the district mailed notices before summer to warn customers with high use that they would be penalized if they failed to stay within the 1,000-gallon daily limit.

District officials said the names released so far represent about a third of the district’s customers. More names are expected to be released later this year.

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