Attention all average, water-using folks who live in Southern California: droughtshaming just got a bit more Hunger Games, thanks to formerly friendly neighbors who’ve bypassed the celebrity cogwheel and have instead taken to ratting each other out.
Like Jane Demian, who says she’s “shocked” that a neighbor turned her in for watering her home.
She recently got a letter from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s Water Conservation Response Unit, about an unverified report of prohibited water use activity at her home in the Eagle Rock neighborhood of L.A. Demian says she was called out for water runoff onto the sidewalk, driveway and gutter, and the unauthorized “washdown of hardscapes” like the walkway to her house.
But Demian isn’t even sure that water waste was hers. “My neighbor next door runs his sprinkler,” Demian told NPR. “And then the sprinkler water cascades down the street, ends up on my sidewalk, and waters my sidewalk actually!”
Besides not knowing whose water she’s getting in trouble for, Demian also doesn’t know who called her out. She thinks it may be another neighbor down the street, getting revenge after she previously complained about a noise violation from his house. But she’s reluctant to confirm. “I’m certainly not going to go over and ask him.”
The ordeal has left Demian emotional. “I’m just shocked actually, paranoid, and a little squeamish now about even watering at all,” she said. “I can’t really trust people anymore. So I wonder now, who was it, who turned me in?!”
We previously reported that LA-based celebrities and the superrich are already targets of droughtshaming, with full-blown exposé-style posts launching with the hopes of bringing attention to their lush grass and landscaping while the rest of the state suffers. This, though, is different—the pegging of neighbors against other neighbors; the very people who are supposed to have your back when shit gets bad or broken into. If we’re bred into a system of mistrust—drought or no drought—think for a minute about how hard it’ll be to crawl back out of it.
In other words: mind your business. And use water sparingly, regardless of where you live.
Image via AP