Wet weather eliminates need to water in many parts of the county

The San Diego County Water Authority is urging residents and businesses to help the region conserve water by turning off their outdoor watering systems and keeping them off. Water Authority officials say residents and businesses that received measureable amounts of rain from today’s unexpected storm may be able to keep their landscape watering systems off for several days to a week, especially if cooler temperatures prevail.

Areas of the county that only received small amounts of rain can still help the region conserve water by not running irrigation systems until it is absolutely necessary. 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.

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. Water officials expect these restrictions to reduce water deliveries from Northern California 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