Caltrans Sets Goal to Reduce Water Use By 50 Percent

Caltrans on Friday announced it has set a goal of reducing its water use by 50 percent.

The announcement comes days after Gov. Jerry Brown signed an executive order requiring cities and water districts to cut water use by 25 percent.

"We've already met our goal of 30 percent of last year," Caltrans spokesman Bob Haus said. "We're going toward reduction of 50 percent."

Haus said Caltrans will use $28 million from emergency funds to update irrigation systems and install more smart sprinklers across the state.

"They've been showing to use half the water of traditional sprinkler systems," Haus said. "We've also stopped irrigating in some areas where we can."

Haus also said landscaping projects will be postponed and watering medians will be avoided.

Colleen Valles with the Santa Clara Valley Water District said the county's water savings is just 13 percent.

According to the State Water Board, the Bay Area made progress in December by conserving a total of 21 percent.

In January, when San Francisco didn't see a drop of rain, home owner turned the sprinklers back on and water reduction fell to 3 percent.

"We also recommend people check back for leaks, take shorter showers," Valles said. "Get your car washed at a professional car wash place where they recycle the water."

In San Jose, the city recommends residents water only between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. The city's current water-saving recommendation is 20 percent. There will be a meeting later this month to discuss a likely increase.

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