Apps shame water wasters

'Drought Shaming' takes off on social media

drought apps (1)

DESERT HOT SPRINGS, Calif. - The statewide water restrictions will begin on Friday and there's quite a few people ready to turn their neighbors if they don't follow the rules. 

Thanks to new smart phone apps, tattling on water wasters is easier than ever before.

"I've been in the desert maybe 19 years so we've probably seen the last of all the green," said La Quinta resident Frank Sikorski.

People are already starting to make changes to help save water.  

"We have put a few rules, the board of where I live put a few more rules about not wasting water," said local resident Maria Diez De Medina.

But people are also turning in anyone else who isn't saving. 

"I think that's good because they are trying to save the water for everybody else," said Diez De Medina.

It's called drought shaming, there is even a hash-tag for it on Twitter #droughtshaming.  People are tattling on neighbors who they feel are wasting water through social media and apps on their smart phones. VizSAFE even plots out the offender on a map.

"I don't think that's a bad idea, it's not happening in my neighborhood, that I know of," said Pat Kelley. 

The Desert Water Agency has an app of it's own with an option to send pictures or video of water wasters directly to them

"Technology provides a lot of opportunity that you haven't had in the past," said Mission Springs Water District administrative officer John Soulliere.

Mission Springs Water District is also looking at creating an app but this one would go a little bit further embedding GPS technology for any photo or video sent in.

"The good thing about a photo or a video, our professional guys will look at that and they'll be able to determine what level of response is necessary," said Soulliere.  

Mission Springs and Coachella Valley Water Districts say people are also calling in, but not every water wasting complaint is actually a problem.

"When we get a call like that, these are resources that we are using and we don't want to get into anybody neighborhood's feuds, we want it to be a legitimate call," said Soulliere.  "This is tax payer dollars, when our guys are out there checking out these water waste calls, it costs us and we want to make sure it's legitimate calls."

If you don't want to drought shame, there is another option.

"I think they should try to contact the neighbor first and mention it to them, that's what I would do," said Sikorski. 


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