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In California, 'Drought Shaming' Sparks Resentment, Snark

Florence Low
California Department of Water Resources

Despite constant warnings about California's drought, people across the state are actually using more water this year than last. Angst over water is nothing new, but the pressure to conserve is pitting neighbor against neighbor in something the New York Times has called “drought shaming.” 

That's where one neighbor complains about another's leaky sprinklers, sometimes even posting photos of leaky sprinklers to social media to "shame" water wasters. It can also work in reverse, with homeowners giving disapproving comments to those who have chosen to let their yards go brown to save water. 

It's a trend that has already hit Fresno, which has instituted new outdoor water restrictions that take effect this Friday. And it's not just neighbors that are being "shamed" for wasting water, it's even the city itself, which one resident recently took to task for its own leaky sprinklers. On this week's Valley Edition, we discussed whether or not drought shaming is productive with the following guests:

Mark Standriff, City of Fresno spokesperson
Jefferson Beavers, freelance journalist
Felicia Marcus,  State Water Resources Control Board 


Joe Moore is the President and General Manager of Valley Public Radio. During his tenure, he's helped lead the station through major programming changes and the COVID-19 pandemic, while maintaining the station's financial health. From 2010-2018 he served as the station's Director of Program Content. In that role, he also served as the host of Valley Edition, and helped launch and grow the station's award-winning local news department. He is a Fresno native and a graduate of California State University, Fresno.
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