First Big Rains Serve as a Reminder to Turn Off Sprinklers

With the first winter rains expected during Thanksgiving week, California American Water launched a public awareness campaign to remind local residents to turn their sprinklers off -- a simple step that protects the environment while saving water and money during the winter months.

"It may seem obvious not to water your garden while it's raining," said Kent Turner, president of California American Water. "But with our busy lives, and the holidays around the corner, it can be easy to forget something so simple."

According to Turner, water company employees spot residents and businesses with their sprinklers running while it's raining every year. "Not only do we see water waste, we also see customers with high bills that aren't necessary," he said. "With more than half the water used by most people outside of the home, this is the easiest place to save water, especially as the rainy season approaches. Sprinklers running in the winter account for a tremendous amount of water waste."

Too much water can be more damaging to plants than drought. Landscaping experts estimate that 90 percent of plants killed die from overwatering. Soggy soil can prevent nutrients and air from reaching plant roots, inviting unwanted diseases such as root rot.

If there is a long break between rains, California American Water recommends manually watering landscape with a hose and a low-flow hose nozzle. One way to test if soil needs watering is by pushing a screwdriver into the ground. If it goes in easily, the soil is moist and doesn't need water. Customer may also want to consider replacing older automatic sprinkler systems with weather-based systems or smart timers that don't irrigate when it isn't needed.