Water waste is scary – and not just on Halloween. San Diego County residents can fight the specter of statewide drought by reducing outdoor irrigation now that nights are longer and temperatures are cooler. Landscapes (including spooky cemetery lawns) don’t need as much water in the fall and winter as they do during summer.
The end of daylight saving time on Sunday offers a timely reminder about making sure irrigation timers are correctly set and switching to a low-water-use schedule through May. As part of the regional Drought Alert status, local water agencies countywide have enacted water-use regulations that include irrigation watering restrictions. For details, go to www.whenindrought.org.
“Statewide drought conditions make the need to conserve this fall and winter even more important than usual,” said Jeff Stephenson, a principal water resources specialist for the San Diego County Water Authority. “With a few simple steps, residents and businesses can significantly reduce the amount of water used outdoors as plant growth slows down.”
Outdoor watering accounts for more than half of a typical household’s water use in California. Making seasonal adjustments to irrigation controllers can reduce water waste and lead to healthier landscapes. Water-saving practices include turning off irrigation systems when rainstorms are predicted and leaving them off for at least a week after significant rainfall.
The Water Authority’s conservation website WaterSmartSD.org is filled with information about conservation incentives, tools and programs designed to make the most of the region’s limited water supplies. The website includes a link to the Water Authority’s digital flipbook “eGuide to a WaterSmart Lifestyle,” designed to inspire, educate and empower homeowners to make water-efficient choices in their homes and gardens.
In addition, a Water Calculator at WaterSmartSD.org/water-calculator estimates how much water residents use at home based on a series of questions about their water consumption indoors and outdoors. It also identifies specific areas for improving overall household water-use efficiency.
The Water Authority is not anticipating reductions to its imported water supplies this year that would trigger mandatory supply cutbacks to its member agencies. Allocations could happen in 2015 if conditions don’t improve this winter, but two decades of regional investments in water supply reliability such as independent Colorado River water transfers and the Carlsbad Desalination Project will help offset the impacts of any reductions in imported water supplies.