From the playground onwards we've been bound by a code of honour not to sneak.
Yet no fewer than 1,500 people have been dobbing in their neighbours over the hosepipe ban.
Are they active citizens or sneaky grasses?
The e-mails published reflect the balance of opinion received.
If I can't use my hosepipe then as far as I'm concerned others can't. And I will report if I know of someone using one. There are people out there who "religiously" clean their cars every week regardless if they are dirty or not, that's a real waste of water in my opinion.
Jean Papworth, Sandown, Isle of Wight
I can see the court case already. "He started it, he filled his wiper fluid twice on Monday and deliberately splashed his muddy car..." For goodness sake, can people re-grow their backbones in this country! I'm not a middle-class 60 year old Conservative, I'm 23... but I think I'm on my way!
Owain Antcliff, Stafford
We are spied on almost everywhere we go, and now we are being encouraged to spy on each other. Wouldn't it be better to spy on the water companies, which have sold off, filled in and built upon several reservoirs recently?
A Howlett, Cheshire
"Dobbing in" is simply another ploy by a desperate government which is on the one hand trying to shed all its responsibilities so that it can't be blamed when things go wrong; and on the other attempting to divide society, setting us all at each other's throats so that we're all so busy fighting each other the government can get on with its mismanagement with minimal disturbance.
John Turrill, Nottingham
Any water that is wasted by householders is but a gnat's whatsit compared to the huge volumes that are wasted by the water companies' leaky reservoirs and leaky pipes. I used to work for one. Dobbing on your neighbour isn't going to solve anything. We should be putting pressure on the water companies to get their act together and on the water regulator to allow them to charge what they need to do it. It shouldn't increase bills by much (though pensioners should be exempt from increases).
The subject of snitching on the use of hosepipes in the garden appalled me. It is my opinion that the governments' and individuals' time and energy would be best used monitoring those leaking pipes that the water authorities are happy to leave unattended to wasting thousands of gallons of water which spills down the drains after we have paid for it to be treated and re-circulated for use.
Colin Day, Bridgwater
In light of the serious crisis in the South concerning the water shortage, I think that the reporting of anyone for using hosepipes makes them active citizens. I for one do not want to see the use of stand pipes in the street to provide water because a minority of people have been selfish by wasting it for trivial reasons. For example, by washing cars and watering grass. This is a great waste in my view and should be stopped - these activities consume a lot of water. I also hope that any wastage by the water companies is also reported. We all have a part to play including the water companies keeping their leaks to a minimum and repairing quickly where necessary.
Steve Fuller, Hove, East Sussex
This whole business of drought in a country like ours, when we have missed only three months of rainfall in the last year is ridiculous and absurd in the very extreme! The very fact, so we are told, that people are reporting their own neighbours to the authorities in secret proves that we are indeed living in an Orwellian, police state! The taxes that we are increasingly being asked to pay should be used to build a proper and efficient infrastructure. This means building sufficient reservoirs to allow for short periods lacking in rainfall.
Nicholas Philip, London
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