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Marin County Water District Pits Neighbors Against Each Other To See Who Uses Less Water During Drought

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Linda-Yee_BIO-HEAD Linda Yee
Linda Yee has been a general assignment reporter for KPIX 5 Eyewitness...
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MILL VALLEY (KPIX 5) — Water wasters have faced warnings, fines, and even restrictions during California’s drought emergency. But, some residents in Marin County are going even further, competing against each other to see who uses the least water.

5,000 water customers picked at random are having their water use compared to their neighbors.

The water district is working with Watersmart Software, which is monitoring homeowners and sending them a bi-monthly report.

A sad-faced teardrop on the report is bad news.

“We actually can compare notes and give the stink eye to somebody,” Marin Water District customer Natalie Carpenter said.

The county wants to conserve the water they have, despite reservoirs being at 91-percent capacity.

Still, residents are embracing the challenge.

“It taps into the fundamental and dynamic of the human psyche, which is wanting essentially to compete, and outdo others,” Marin Water District customer Sam Keller.

The water district is testing the program for one year before it decides whether to expand it to all 51,000 households.

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