CalTrans' sprinklers run despite declared drought

REDDING, Calif. - Almost two weeks ago Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency for California.

That alerts residents and businesses to restrict their water use as much as possible.

This morning CalTrans, who has been working to clear brush along Highway 44 in Redding, had their sprinklers on.

According to CalTrans officials the sprinklers must be turned off manually and many of the sprinkler systems in the CalTrans District two are manual.  That means that in order to turn off the sprinkler systems several maintenance personnel must work to get to each one.

CalTrans said they're working to upgrade the systems to remote systems which can be told to turn off with the flick of a switch or a click of a mouse button.  But that upgrade takes time and they don't have an estimate as to when they'll be done.

They also say that today's rain storm wasn't significant enough to warrant that effort.  Officials put the threshold somewhere around half an inch of rain but wouldn't be more specific than that.

Officials also said that they would need more consistent rains than we've seen this year to completely shut off their sprinklers and go into their normal winter mode.

We are told that CalTrans directors are planning to meet in Sacramento to discuss how to cut their water use by 20 percent.  When asked officials wouldn't specify as to when the process would be completed, but insisted it was in progress and would be done soon.

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