Editorial: Don't force neighbors to call you a water hog

Dear Neighbor: You're a water hog.

That's essentially what you might find hanging on your doorknob if your neighbor thinks you're wasting water.

Using $68,000 from its water conservation budget, the San Diego County Water Authority has started distributing 280,000 packets of bright yellow door hangers for people to use if they notice water being wasted. They've been included in the county's daily newspapers and can be printed off the agency's Web site or found at outreach booths or in your local water district offices.

Printed in packs of five, they list five types of outdoor water waste - from sprinklers watering the pavement to sprinklers on during the day - and include conservation tips.

While the idea of monitoring water use is critical, it seems a bit "Big Brotherish" to ask people to keep watch on neighbors in such a formal way. If you're being neighborly, just knock on a door and tell them you noticed their sprinkler was broken.

The sad thing, though, is that maybe it's the water authority's way of saying that we aren't so neighborly any more and it would be safer to tell someone anonymously.

On top of that, isn't there a better way to use $68,000 to get the message out that we need to conserve?

We all know that mandatory restrictions on water use are very likely as our drought continues. And, if we don't all do our part by cutting back on our use of this precious resource, those restrictions might be more than we bargain for.

But, hanging tags on neighbors' doors doesn't seem to us like the right solution. A simple knock would be better.

For more information go to the San Diego Water Authority's Web site

http://www.20gallonchallenge.com/helpyourneighbors.html

   
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