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Water Conservation Efforts Expand To Caltrans
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Caltrans today announced that the California Transportation Commission has allocated emergency funding to continue installing smart sprinklers on state property, technology that automatically adjusts to weather conditions, soil moisture or broken pipes, and has already helped cut water use 50 percent where installed.

“Caltrans districts have significantly curbed irrigation, modernized equipment and halted many landscaping projects across California,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “These efforts have saved billions of gallons of water, but as this State of Emergency continues in California we must work even harder—and keep leading the way on this critical issue.”

As one of the State’s largest departments, responsible for landscaping that stretches the size of 22,600 football fields, Caltrans’ conservation efforts contribute significant water savings. Conservation efforts, including the following, have helped the department reduce water consumption by an estimated 30 percent:

Invested $47 million in Caltrans emergency funding to upgrade or repair 1,250 irrigation systems statewide – approximately 25 percent of the state’s system – including smart sprinklers that cut water use at least 50 percent by automatically adjusting water usage based on weather conditions, soil moisture or broken pipes.

Postponed 34 landscaping projects, which include 26 projects that would have gotten under way this year.

Invested $8 million in four major water recycling projects in San Luis Obispo, Shasta and San Diego.

Canceled any turf or grass watering, including all state rest stops, unless recycled water is used.

Caltrans has shut off irrigation entirely in areas of the state with the most severe drought conditions, and will continue to do so. Any essential landscaping to prevent water pollution or erosion uses only inert ground covers, such as mulch or gravel, or drought-tolerant native or non-thirsty plants. Caltrans has received nearly $1 million in local water conservation rebates for its efforts to reduce water use and upgrade equipment.