Stop telling us to snitch
Authorities are too used to pulling the stigma, shaming and snitching levers.
Be ashamed, be very ashamed, you water-wasting, gas-guzzling selfish consumer!
This is the message to us from authorities who have got far too used to pressing the levers of shame, social stigma, and snitching.
South East Water has encouraged customers to grass up neighbours who water their grass. South East Water do say that issuing fines for flouting hosepipe bans is the last thing that they want to do, but customers can nevertheless be fined £1,000.
Yes, this is a long dry spell, and we all need to play our part, but do water boards have to pull the snitching lever? Talk about treating us like The Great Unwashed. How about not peering over the neighbour’s fence and just minding your own business? Or, if you feel you must say something about a lawn or paddling pool misdeamonour , have a polite and direct word with your neighbour yourself.
We’re not running out of water because Mr Jones next door is using the sprinkler. The fact is, we’ve had no new reservoirs for decades to keep up with population demands, and water boards are leaking more than 3 billion litres of mains water every day. We should all be sensible and conserve water during a heatwave, but it is the responsibility of water companies and the government to provide adequate infrastructure to meet the demands of the population.
The problem is that the authorities get carried away by these finger-pointing schemes. Take the recent suggestion by the Behavioural Insights Team - a.k.a. the Nudge Unit - that households should be sent letters comparing neighbourhood energy consumption.