CalTrans saving irrigation water during drought, asking Californians to help

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - In response to the state’s severe drought, Caltrans is launching a statewide educational campaign on the state’s highways, urging all Californians to conserve water.

Beginning Tuesday, California’s more than 700 electronic highway signs will display a water conservation message.

The message reads, "SERIOUS DROUGHT; HELP SAVE WATER."

As a large department responsible for 30,000 acres of irrigated landscaping, Caltrans is making dramatic reductions in its irrigation activities. Effective this month, Caltrans will take the following actions:

•   Cut statewide irrigation activities by at least 50 percent.

•   Delay all new landscaping projects in severely impacted areas until the next rainy season to preserve the water supply. Postpone all non-essential highway planting.

•   Cease watering in areas of the state suffering from the most severe drought impacts.

•   Expand its use of smart irrigation technologies, which turn off automatically when it rains. Such systems can reduce water usage by as much as 50-60 percent.

• Use recycled water for irrigation and other activities whenever possible.

• Forgo washing vehicles except when necessary for safety.

With California facing its driest year on record, Governor Brown declared a drought State of Emergency in January and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for water shortages.

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