The drought in California has gotten so bad that the city of Los Angeles is now proposing a new method in order to get citizens to abide by water restrictions. The proposed method is none other than drought shaming, and it’s exactly what it sounds like.
If drought shaming does indeed go into effect, the city will likely release a publication that identifies every resident who is using more than their fair share of water. People will be able to point out the offending parties, wag their fingers at them and say “shame”.
Obviously, the city has tried other tactics to curb water consumption. The city has already used methods of shutting off water valves, fining people who use too much water and providing hourly restrictions. Still, officials say that it hasn’t been enough.
Believe it or not, such shaming techniques have worked in other states in the past. The state of Nevada started naming its water-wasters, and after being publicly shamed, many offenders voluntarily changed their habits.
According to water authority spokesperson Bronson Mack, “Some people tell us they did not know they were on the list, and we can then work with them to help them get their water use down. It’s a who’s who of influential people. Often, people are shocked at how much water they use.”
There are some prominent names on the Las Vegas list. It turns out that world boxing champion Floyd Mayweather is a chronic water-waster. The boxing star uses enough water in his home to supply 108 typical homes.
Another notable water-hog is Prince Jefri Bolkiah, who used 11 million gallons of water last year. Prince Bolkiah, who is the brother of the Sultan of Brunei, was apparently affected by this shaming technique, because his consumption is down from 18 million gallons.
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, city officials report that the biggest water user enjoys utilizing 11.8 million gallons of water on an annual basis. This is enough water to supply 100 average households. Disgruntled citizens have nicknamed the unnamed water-lover “The Wet Prince of Bel Air”.
Not surprisingly, most heavy water users come from wealthier parts of Southern California. Four of the top five offenders live in Bel Air. Other areas such as Beverly Hills are known for having water hogs as well.
While official shaming has yet to occur, that hasn’t stopped citizens from enjoying unofficial water shaming. Barbra Streisand was publicly embarrassed when conservationists took pictures of her lawn, which was using tremendous amounts of water.
Executive vice-president of the Oakland Athletics Billy Beane, who is perhaps best known for having Brad Pitt portray him in Moneyball, was unofficially water shamed for using too much water after his swimming pool system was leaking.
For now, it is unknown how Los Angeles officials would go about publicly disclosing names. If they do decide to go with the measure, it is likely that offenders would be published in an official list for everyone to see.
California conducted a similar shaming method during the drought of 1997.