Garcetti's Mayoral Mansion Uses Five Times as Much Water as Typical L.A. Home

Getty HouseEXPAND
Getty House
Photo by Gene Maddaus

Getty House, the mayoral residence, uses 2,100 gallons of water every day — more than five times as much as the average L.A. home, according to figures released by the L.A. Department of Water and Power.

Mayor Eric Garcetti, who moved into the mansion late last year, has called on Angelenos to cut their water use by 20 percent in the next two years, in response to a record-breaking drought.

And while the mayor has taken steps to reduce the mansion's water usage, removing some landscaping from the front of the house, he has a long way to go.

The L.A. DWP provided Getty House water use records dating back to January 2012, in response to a request under the California Public Records Act.

According to those records, former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa averaged about 2,165 gallons per day. Villaraigosa moved out in June 2013. After a significant renovation, Garcetti and his family moved in in late 2013. Since then, Garcetti has averaged 2,103 gallons per day — about 2.9 percent less than Villaraigosa.

That's still 5.4 times greater than the citywide average. According to a study by the UCLA Center for Sustainable Communities, the average L.A. household uses 387 gallons per day.

Getty House is an old building on a large lot, with extensive gardens — all of which adds up to heavy water use. The UCLA study also found that L.A. water use is strongly correlated with income, with wealthy neighborhoods consuming three times what poorer neighborhoods do. 

Getty House uses much more water than the average home in even the wealthiest neighborhoods. The typical home in Pacific Palisades, the neighborhood with the highest water use, consumes about 599 gallons per day — less than a third the usage at the mayor's residence.

In a statement, Jeff Millman, the mayor's spokesman, said that Getty House hosts about 50 events per year.

"Getty House is being used more frequently for public events than in the past, and also contains office space for the Getty House Foundation," Millman said. "Most of the house is dedicated space for public events, with a smaller portion of the house for the family's private use."

Garcetti has directed city departments to take steps to reduce water use at city-owned facilities. Millman did not say whether the mayor will attempt to reduce his own water use by 20 percent. The grass out front of Getty House was recently removed, and it's not yet clear how much that will affect the mansion's water usage. Millman said work on the backyard would happen sometime later.

The UCLA study found that voluntary reductions — such as those the mayor has asked for — have not generally resulted in significant decreases in water use in the past. Mandatory watering restrictions and price increases were more effective.

In August, two council members suggested that the DWP explore a more robust system of pricing tiers, which would make the heaviest water users pay higher rates.


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