National Weather Service forecasters predict rainfall for the San Diego region starting as early as Tuesday and potentially through the weekend. The San Diego County Water Authority is urging residents, businesses and public agencies to immediately shut off landscape watering systems this week to conserve water.
Irrigation systems can be turned off for several days following storms bringing measurable amounts of rain and up to a week or more following heavy or prolonged storms. The Water Authority estimates a voluntary one-week hiatus from using landscape watering systems across the region could save 2,000 acre-feet of water. An acre-foot is about 326,000 gallons, enough to supply two families of four for a year.
To determine when it is necessary to turn water systems back on, the Water Authority recommends monitoring soil moisture and plant stress. Check soil moisture by sticking a shovel or your finger into the dirt. When the soil is dry one to two inches deep, it is time to water. Signs of plant stress include wilting and/or a lack of luster in leaves or blades of grass.
The region’s water supplies have been impacted by extremely dry conditions around California over the last two years, as well as by extensive drought conditions in the Colorado River basin. In addition, court-ordered pumping restrictions on the State Water Project have significantly cut water deliveries from Northern California this year and are expected to continue through 2009.
Reducing the frequency and length of watering cycles on all landscape during the shorter, cooler days of fall and winter is one of the most effective water saving methods. Reducing each irrigation cycle by 1 to 3 minutes, or eliminating one irrigation cycle per week can result in savings of 15 to 25 gallons for each minute and up to 250 gallons per cycle. For more water conservation tips, incentives and programs, visit www.20gallonchallenge.com.
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