News Feature | August 12, 2014

#Droughtshaming: Californians Take To Twitter To Shame Water-Wasting Neighbors

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome


 As California struggles through a historic drought, some residents have become water conservation tattletales, ratting out water-wasting neighbors on social media. 

 As the Visalia Times-Delta put it, "Drought snitching is now a thing. It's in the national media, it's on Twitter, it's on Instagram and it's on Facebook, so that definitely means it's real." 

 Residents are using social media to call out neighbors who they believe are failing to conserve water. Using the Twitter hashtag #droughtshaming, users are posting photos of what appear to be wasteful acts.

There's even an app for drought shaming. 

"At least two smartphone apps have emerged as efficient drought shaming platforms. H20 Tracker allows users to inform city authorities instantly of a neighbor’s excessive water use, sending a report and pictures with just a few keystrokes," The Independent reported

Meanwhile, "apps like 'Vizsaf' and others are becoming popular, letting users share posts about water wasters in their neighborhood. The smart phone app allows users to upload anonymous photos showing water being wasted, and the location," Fox 40 reported

The Southern California Water Committee, a non-profit, created a mascot called Lawn Dude, complete with a Twitter account, to get the conservation message out. 

The account says: "Recovering wateraholic. SWEAT by Day & DRINK by Night, is my motto. I'm SCWC’s official mascot telling you wasting H2o is BAD! C'mon CA, up your conservation." 

Lawn Dude offers up such wisdom as: "If you insist on watering your lawn at all, only do it in the early a.m. or in the evenings. Personally, I like to do my drinking in the dark."

An app known as Dropcountr helps users get updates on their water consumption during the month, rather than waiting to see their bills.

"When signing up, users are asked to connect the app to their water utility (so if you don't live in California, it won't work for you), which can then be 'poked' by the app to retrieve the customer's daily water data," TreeHugger reported

The backdrop is that California is strictly regulating water overuse.

"New regulations that include fines up to $500 a day for residents who waste water are taking effect in California," CBS News reported.

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Image credit: "Social Media apps," Jason A. Howie © 2013, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: