Drought shaming occurs when neighbors or any other individual notices another person or business using water unnecessarily, especially when water restrictions have been mandated by state and local governments. The fact is, during severe drought conditions, the misuse of the area's precious water supply can have a devastating effect on the environment. The misuse of water can make it impossible for residents to have the water they need to live on and actually do irreparable damage to an area's eco-system. It is up to everyone to do their part when it comes to water conservation.
The Neighborhood Snitch
In California and other drought stricken areas, state, county and city governments have passed laws stating that anyone caught wasting water on things such as washing their cars, watering their lawns or using garden hoses that do not have a manual shut off at the nozzle can be given tickets by local law enforcement agencies. It has gotten so bad that neighbors are encouraged to report water wasters to the authorities, in the hopes that after receiving a citation, the waste will stop.
Many law enforcement agencies have private lines that can be called so the person who is reporting the incident can remain anonymous, thus protecting them from the backlash of being known as the “neighborhood snitch”. With the promise of anonymity, people are more likely to report their neighbors, knowing they will not face any type of retaliation.
Understanding the Necessity for Conservation
It is important for all residents to understand how important water is to not only the residents of an area, but also the local environment. The misuse of water can lead to a water shortage in which only minimal use is allowed. People need water to bathe, cook their food and to drink. Along with every resident's need for water, animals and plants in the environment also depend on it to survive. Every living thing relies on water for its very existence.
What many people tend to forget where the environment is concerned is that it is not only the wasting of water that has a dramatic impact. Another factor when it comes to conserving water is the reduction of toxic chemicals that are allowed to contaminate the local water supply. People who water their lawn with fertilizers and weed killers can actually contaminate millions of gallons of water in a short period of time. While the water is still there, it cannot be safely used because of the contaminants and toxins it contains.
Stricter Laws and Drought Shaming
While drought shaming is encouraged in many areas, more laws may need to be written to protect our natural resources. Water wasting is only the beginning. Eventually, there may be a need to limit the amount of toxic chemicals that can be used during droughts. Shaming others by turning them into the authorities is only the first step that can be taken. Tickets are often issued, with repeat offenders facing double and triple the amount each time a new violation is cited. While this may seem harsh to some, the lack of usable water is a very real possibility. It is better to monitor usage now than to not have what is needed later.
Many people look at drought shaming as someone being a tattle tale or snitch. The fact is, with every phone call concerning someone wasting water, there is an opportunity to educate those who are breaking the law. The importance of water conservation must be taught to those who don't understand its importance. Without viable water, residents do not have what they need to survive, leading to an environmental disaster that has long reaching consequences.