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Orange County

Giveaway Could Cut Excessive Watering

November 16, 2002|David Reyes | Times Staff Writer

In an effort to reduce urban runoff, county water officials plan to offer thousands of sophisticated home-sprinkler devices that control the amount of water used for landscaping.

The $1.6-million program is designed to prevent people from over-watering their flower beds and lawns, said Keith G. Coolidge, a spokesman for the Municipal Water District of Orange County. The district hopes to reduce the amount of urban runoff, which flows to the ocean, causing pollution.

The program will replace 5,000 automated sprinkler systems in Orange County homes for free on a volunteer basis. The program will start next summer.

The controllers manage water usage by monitoring local weather and climate information. Coolidge said the information is then transmitted to the controller by pager.

"Sometimes homeowners set their automated systems once -- like me -- when you put it in and then they forget about it," Coolidge said.

Studies have shown that the devices can save a household 57 gallons of water a day.

To participate in the program, contact Joe Berg, the water district's programs manager, at (714) 593-5008.

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