May 21, 2015 6:00 am
By Kit Eaton
The New York Times
California’s drought is a powerful reminder of the vulnerability and precious nature of our water resources. To become more responsible with water usage and waste, a few apps can help people learn about and reduce their water consumption.
One is Vizsafe, which tries to encourage responsible water usage through the age-old mechanism of peer pressure. The principle is simple: If a user sees water overuse, he can snap a photo or record a smartphone video and upload the evidence to Vizsafe for all to see.
For example, someone may spot a business that is overwatering its grass, causing wasted water to run onto the sidewalk. A user can take a picture and upload the geolocated photo to the app. The hope is that the business takes note of the public shaming and turns down its sprinkler system. Inside the app, users can browse a list of photos and videos that other people have uploaded or see reported issues on a map.
Vizsafe’s blurb promises that it is all about “being a good neighbor” and supporting “your community’s well being.” The app also has other neighborhood-watch features like reporting crime or even giving a thumbs up to a good Samaritan.
Some may feel that using the app is akin to snitching on people, but there are situations in which it is impossible to directly approach someone wasting water, which is when Vizsafe becomes the most useful. Vizsafe does not require users to associate their real identities with uploads.
About Vizsafe, Inc.
Vizsafe is the only 24/7 global platform dedicated to safety and awareness. Vizsafe’s innovative mobile platform enhances event and community safety by crowdsourcing, organizing and sharing visual content in real-time. Vizsafe users are fans and neighbors who support their communities, as well as first responders in fire, emergency medical and law enforcement. Vizsafe partners with organizations that care about public safety. Learn more at www.vizsafe.com