Water Authority urges shutoff of irrigation systems during rainstorms

Short Title
Water Authority urges shutoff of irrigation systems during rainstorms
Wet weather should eliminate need to water landscapes for week or more
February 20, 2008

The San Diego County Water Authority is urging residents and businesses to help the region conserve water by keeping their outdoor watering systems turned off as several storms move through the region. The Water Authority also urges those still running irrigation systems on normal schedules to turn them off immediately.

National Weather Service forecasters predict the combined storms through the weekend could deliver up to 1.3 inches of rain in coastal and inland areas and 2.5 inches of rain and possibly snow to mountain areas.

Residents and businesses may be able to leave their watering systems off for a week and perhaps longer depending on the amount of rainfall received and if cooler temperatures continue. To determine when it is necessary to turn water systems on, the Water Authority recommends monitoring soil moisture. Check the top inch of soil. If it still is moist, it contains enough water to supply the plants and does not need more watering.

Despite storm activity so far this winter, the region’s water supplies remain impacted by extremely dry conditions around California over the last year that significantly reduced storage in key reservoirs, as well as by an eight-year drought in the Colorado River basin. In addition, court-ordered pumping restrictions on the State Water Project are now in effect and additional restrictions are possible. Water officials expect these restrictions to reduce water deliveries from Northern California by up to 30 percent through 2008 and potentially beyond.

For more water conservation tips, incentives and programs, visit www.20gallonchallenge.com. To help estimate the right amount of water to give landscapes or gardens anywhere in the region, use the City of San Diego’s Landscape Watering Calculator at www.sandiego.gov/water/conservation

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