Water Authority Urges Region Not to Spring Into Increased Landscape Watering

April 01, 2010

Although spring has arrived with its warmer temperatures and longer daylight hours, the San Diego County Water Authority reminds residents…

Although spring has arrived with its warmer temperatures and longer daylight hours, the San Diego County Water Authority reminds residents and businesses to continue practicing water conservation and following local water use restrictions.

In addition, the Water Authority is urging residents and businesses to turn off their irrigation systems this week in anticipation of a storm forecast to hit the region Wednesday and Thursday.

“Despite the storm activity so far this winter, we face ongoing regulatory restrictions on water deliveries from Northern California, and key reservoirs around California and on the Colorado River are still recovering from several years of very dry conditions,” said Bill Rose, Water Authority Conservation Program Executive. “We must be prepared for another year of limited water supplies, and we should not go back to irrigating our landscapes without concern for how much water is being used.”

Urban water use in the region remains down. The latest data shows July 2009-February 2010 urban water use decreased 13.3 percent compared to the same period a year earlier.

The region’s water supply outlook for the rest of 2010 and into 2011 will become clearer over the next couple of months, but Water Authority officials project water shortage conditions are likely to continue.

To help reduce water waste from over-irrigation this spring, the Water Authority recommends checking the moisture level in soil before tuning irrigation systems back on.

A couple of simple tests can help determine if landscapes need to be watered. One way is to insert a finger into the dirt to the second knuckle; if the soil feels moist it has enough water to sustain turf and plants. Another method to check for moisture is taking a soil sample and rolling or squeezing it into a ball in your hand. Rub the ball with your thumb. If it doesn’t crumble, it contains enough moisture to supply water to your plants.

“There are many other ways to help conserve water. Residents and businesses should test irrigation systems for leaks, breaks and misaligned sprinkler heads to ensure that irrigation systems operate at peak efficiency,” Rose said.” For homeowners, fixing misaligned heads can save 15-25 gallons a day, and repairing breaks and leaks can save as much as 10 gallons per minute per sprinkler head. Business parks, multifamily housing units and other properties with large landscaped areas can save even more.”

The Water Authority also recommends that homeowners replace the back-up battery in their irrigation controller. In the event of lost electrical power, depleted batteries can revert irrigation controllers to a default watering cycle, resulting in over-watering.

More information on conservation is available at www.20gallonchallenge.com, or by contacting your local water agency.


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  • The San Diego County Water Authority sustains a $268 billion regional economy and the quality of life for 3.3 million residents through a multi-decade water supply diversification plan, major infrastructure investments and forward-thinking policies that promote fiscal and environmental responsibility. A public agency created in 1944, the Water Authority delivers wholesale water supplies to 23 retail water providers, including cities, special districts and a military base.

    Media Contact Information

    Grace Sevilla

    Phone: (619) 855-5135

    Email: GSevilla@sdcwa.org