July 25, 2014 12:18 pm
The community reporting app has added a drought section inspired by the social media hashtag #droughtshaming
Want to know how to report on your water-wasting neighbor?
There’s an app for that.
The community safety app Vizsafe on Wednesday introduced a section that allows people to share reports of water waste with their neighborhood. Users can anonymously take photos of the waste and map the location, for all to see, including law enforcement.
Vizsafe, a Rhode Island-based company, initially created the app in April for users to report anything from traffic accidents and lost pets to crimes in their neighborhoods.
Developers added the “drought” category to the app after seeing social media users in California complaining about their neighbors’ public water waste — all under the hashtag #droughtshaming, Vizsafe founder and CEO Peter Mottur said.
“There’s a lot of focus on turning to social media to identify neighbors that may not be following rules with respect to water conservation,” Mottur said. “It recently occurred to us our platform is well suited for that.”
Some residents aren’t comfortable with directly approaching their neighbors about their water use, Mottur said, calling the app a “public service” that allows neighbors to hold each other accountable to water conservation regulations.
Earlier this month, California officials banned public water waste and introduced fines of up to $500 a day for violators. Some Southern California communities are considering even stricter regulations.
In addition to mapping users’ “drought-shaming” directly on the map, the app also creates reports from Twitter. Any Tweet using the hashtag #droughtshaming that also includes a photo and a location tag is automatically fed into the Vizsafe drought feed, Mottur said.
Some Southern California residents have already begun using the app.
“Way to hose down your entire sidewalk… TWICE,” read one anonymous user’s report of a neighbor’s outdoor water use in South Gate on Thursday morning.
Another report, fed into the Vizsafe app from Twitter, complained that a neighbor near Culver City “has the greenest lawn and dirt free gutter since she waters EVERY SINGLE DAY.”
Mottur said Vizsafe hopes to make local water enforcement agencies and other organizations aware of the app so they can track water waste in the area.
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