California drought: Water-shaming apps hit smartphones

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - All across the state, people are doing their best to conserve water. But, the fight to save water has also given rise to a new phenomenon known as "drought shaming."

In drought-stricken California, brown is the new green for lawns, and people are turning to their smartphones to report water wasters.

In the past, people have turned to social media to shame water wasters, but now apps such as VizSafe have hit smartphones, where people share posts of water waste in their neighborhood.

Users can anonymously take photos of the waste and map the location, for all to see.

In addition to mapping users, the app pulls reports from Twitter. Any tweet using the hashtag "DroughtShaming" is automatically fed into the VizSafe drought feed.

California Water Service district manager Rudy Valles said he thinks the practice of drought shaming has gone too far.

"A good neighbor will go knock on the door and will say, 'Hey, did you know you have a leak on your sprinkler? Did you know your sprinkler's been running for the last hour? Do you know there is a state reg now?'" suggested Valles. "Going by and shaming each other, that's the wrong way to do it."

Regardless, the apps are up, giving civilian water cops a platform to shame water wasters publicly.

Cal Water officials say if you do know of a serious, chronic issue of water wasting, give them a call at (661) 837-7200.