How shame could help California conserve water

Grist

This story was originally published by Reveal from the Center of Investigative Reporting and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

During California’s last crippling drought, baseball slugger Mark McGwire became a poster boy for water wasters.

The burly first baseman figured prominently in a 1991 Oakland Tribune investigation that showed how residents of upscale neighborhoods skirted the conservation demands facing everyday homeowners. The top 100 users in the East Bay used 15 times more than the typical household.

That included the Oakland A’s star, who pumped 3,752 gallons a day in the summer months at his home in Alamo. “There’s no way I would waste water,” he told the newspaper.

In response to the outcry that followed the story, the East Bay Municipal Utility District demanded that its top users cut water use by 20 percent, the Tribune reported. If customers refused, the district would limit…

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