Power outages affect more than just an alarm clock setting. Every appliance that depends on electricity to maintain the time, including sprinkler timers and water softeners, is subject to the settings being affected.

If you don’t have a fully charged battery in the sprinkler timer when the power goes out, your scheduled watering program will be forgotten and the default program will become active. The default program waters every day, for 10 minutes on every station, typically wasting a lot of water and money.

Make sure to check the settings after a power outage on your sprinkler timer and water softener. Changing the battery in your sprinkler timer every year, at the same time as you change your smoke alarm battery, will save thousands of gallons of water.

For more information on saving water, go to www.SantaBarbaraCA.gov/water.

Cathie Pare is a water resources specialist with the city of Santa Barbara Public Works Department.