Saturday, February 17 , 2018, 9:12 pm | Fair 49º


Winter Storms Offer Water-Saving Opportunities

The city of Santa Barbara suggests turning off sprinklers and collecting rainwater for use late

Considering Santa Barbara’s normally dry climate, it’s a great time to take advantage of some free water.

Staff of the city’s Water Conservation program have two suggestions: Turn off the sprinklers, and collect rainwater for use later.

“Water is such an important resource in California,” said Rebecca Bjork, the city’s water resources manager. “We have to be conscious of how we use it, even when it’s raining.”

On average, homeowners use about two-thirds of their water outdoors. As much as half of that is wasted through incorrect watering, including using sprinklers too often and letting them run too long.

During winter months, homeowners can reduce their watering frequency and duration to a fraction of their summer use. The watering index is a guide for easily adjusting your irrigation controller to reflect current watering requirements based on recent weather. Click here to learn how to use it.

Depending on the soil and the weather, residents may not need to turn the sprinklers back on for more than a week after a soaking rain.

Instead of using water, residents could be collecting it. Rain barrels are effective and easily maintained devices that capture rooftop runoff. The water can be used later for dry-period lawn and garden irrigation.

To schedule a free irrigation checkup or for more information, call the city’s water hot line at 805.564.5460.

— Alison Jordan is a water conservation coordinator for the city of Santa Barbara.

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