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Taking aim at the #grassholes: Vancouver water shortage prompts drought-shaming

If all else fails, there’s always drought shaming.

After the Metro Vancouver area issued Stage 3 water restrictions last week, perturbed residents have turned to social media to publicly shame local water wasters.

It’s the first time the area has imposed the Stage 3 restrictions since 2003, which limits people to watering flowers, vegetables and trees by hand – no sprinklers or hoses.

Reservoirs levels have already dropped to 69 per cent in the region – lows that don’t usually come until August.

Bylaw officers have received neighbour complaints and are issuing written warnings and $250 fines for offenders, but some people still aren’t following the rules.

Hashtags such as #BCdrought and #grassholes have taken hold on social media. A Facebook group called Grassholes was also started, giving people an unofficial place to report residents who aren’t obeying the restrictions.

Sprinklers waking you up? Take a photo and share them here!

Posted by Grassholes on Monday, July 27, 2015

The City of Vancouver also has an app that allows residents to report people they believe are abusing the restrictions.

In addition, Metro Vancouver released a series of videos promoting good water usage habits, including using a rain barrel and sweeping the patio instead of washing.

Under the Stage 3 restrictions car washing is not allowed, but commercial car washes that recycle water remain open. Sand-based sports fields can be watered minimally, as can tees and greens on golf courses. Only water parks with user-activated switches like the one in Stanley Park are open.

Based on the daily consumption numbers, many people have curbed their water usage – since the restriction, daily consumption dropped swiftly from 1.48 billion litres on Monday to 1.05 billion litres on Friday.

But, that hasn’t stopped the #droughtshaming.

Vancouver residents aren’t the only ones who have used social media to publicly out wasters. California residents, who face water shortages as well, have also taken out their water grievances online, targeting celebrities and local businesses.

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