Inside Drought-Shaming, the Latest Trend Among Californians

Inside Drought-Shaming, the Latest Trend Among Californians


Want to keep your lawn looking pristine and as green as your neighbors’ envy?

If you live in southern California, you’ll most likely have to water your lawn during the wee hours of the morning, under clandestine cover of darkness. Otherwise, you could risk becoming famous for all the wrong reasons when your neighbors post a video of you watering your lawn on YouTube.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, it’s all a part of a new trend called “drought-shaming.” In a manner more closely resembling a witch hunt than anything, anyone caught wasting water freely during California’s worst drought in history will be seen — and shamed — across the world.

“Yeah, I put your address out there. The world is watching a lot more,” said Tony Corcoran, one of several people who traverse the plushest neighborhoods of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood in search of people who openly display their disregard for the water crisis at hand.

Corcoran said he’s uploaded more than 100 videos of these water-wasters to YouTube, including the individuals’ addresses. Other drought-shamers will tweet the water-wasters’ addresses with the hashtag #DroughtShaming — and still others snap photos on their smartphones to send them to local authorities. There’s now even a free app, DroughtShame, that allows people to record the times and places in which they see water being wasted.

Throughout the year, the average American household will waste anywhere from 2,000 to 20,000 gallons of water stemming from leaks that could have been easily fixed. In California, a state that hasn’t seen a drop of rainfall in nearly four years, everyone is being pushed to use as little water as possible.

Gov. Jerry Brown recently ordered residents to cut their water consumption by 25%. In wealthier communities, however, a troubling number of residents continue to water their lawns.

Corcoran maintained that the purpose of his vigilante videotaping isn’t to shame people — despite the name of the trend — and he remains unrepentant despite unsurprisingly receiving backlash from the people he’s recorded.

“The whole point is to get people to change, not to shame,” he said.

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