Social Media Beats “Water Cops” in Shaming San Diego’s Water Wasters
With water wasting fines created in July 2014 by the California Water Resources Control Board and other state authorities, rumors spread that San Diego, Los Angeles and other California cities would soon have armies of “water cops” patrolling the streets. At this writing in September 2014, these police contingents turned into just one officer on the Los Angeles beat. San Diego avoided new hires all together.
Citizens Report Water Wasting to Officer Twitter
There could be a new sheriff at the edges of our lawns, however, and that Sheriff takes the form of social media. First, if you haven’t seen it, the hashtag #droughtshaming points out neighbors, companies and government organizations caught wasting water. People take photos and post them to Twitter with #droughtshaming in the 140 characters. Those looking to research a subject use that hashtag to find all mentions of water wasters on Twitter. San Diego plumbing contractors Perry Plumbing has seen a few of these amateur videographers filming broken sprinkler heads, overwatering and more on their rounds through the neighborhoods.
APPs Help Drought Vigilantes Report Water Wasting
Clearly, the lack of city enforcers doesn’t do much to help the water supply. Several apps that have come out for iPhone and Android turn regular citizens into vigilantes as they record the violation and send it either to city officials or the whole world at large via social media.
Called a “virtual neighborhood watch,” VizSafe makes it easy to create short films on a smartphone and then post them to social media, along with audio that can include a verbal description and addresses.
This app turns neighbors into water vigilantes with an easy photo-sharing platform that can be configured to send the photos directly to the city.
The threat #droughtshaming or the uses of these apps could impact sales or community goodwill; and make it a potent motivator for businesses to stop their wasteful practices.
City Workers, the New “De Facto” Water Enforcement Officers
While not expressly designated as “water cops,” all city workers have been charged with understanding and enforcing water use restrictions. When they are on the job for other city work and see violation of code, they’re expected to bring it to the property owner’s attention. A gentle reminder, let’s say, but certainly not a paid position involving quotas.
If this same city worker notices no changes in the water usage, city staff will contact the owner by phone to lean harder on him or her. When still no changes are put into place, San Diego’s Code Compliance officers send a written warning. Only after that, too, is ignored does the citation and notice of fine ($100 to $1000) come in the mail.
Whether busted by a neighbor with a handy app in their Smartphone or a roving city worker, those caught wasting water still have a long way to go before experiencing severe financial consequences for their bad behavior. We would hope, though, that everyone would consciously work together to save water during this critical drought period.
Are You Wasting Water? Perry Plumbing Can Help!
Worried that a sudden spike in your water bill or deep green spot on your lawn could indicate a wasteful leak? We at Perry Plumbing can help support your efforts of water conservation. We will send out our video inspection team to find the problem fast. If something does need to be repaired, our plumbing repair coupons help make all work affordable. Feel free to call us at 619-472-2112, too. Our Better Business Bureau A+ rating and scores of Google Plus four- and five-star ratings should reassure you of our expertise.