Environment & Science

If Angelenos turned off their sprinklers this week, it would save 650 million gallons

Rain falls on the Griffith Park Observatory.
Rain falls on the Griffith Park Observatory.
Jed Kim

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and conservation advocates on Friday urged residents to hold off outdoor watering for at least a week, saying the recent rainstorm should be all the water our gardens need for a while. 

"Every little bit of rain helps, but our drought emergency remains critical. Angelenos must continue aggressive conservation efforts, and in the wake of this storm, sprinklers should be turned off for at least a week," the mayor said in a statement.

If all single-family homes served by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power stopped watering for a week, it could save nearly 650 million gallons of water, according to Kimberly Hughes, a spokeswoman for the water agency. 

24-hour precipitation map
Screen capture of a National Weather Service precipitation map

Meteorologists said though we've had all the rain we're expecting this week, they are expecting cooler days with high temperatures in the low 70's, which should maximize the benefits of the recent rainfall.

“As long as we keep the temperatures down, and we don’t have a lot of wind, we should let that water kind of soak in, and the plants will definitely benefit from that,” said Eric Boldt, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

Conservation experts said homeowners echoed the call to watering regimes. 

"If you can't get rid of your lawn, you should really stretch it as long as possible — at least a week," said Meredith McCarthy, director of programs at Heal the Bay. "We had a nice, good saturating rain, so it got down to those roots, about six inches. You should be able to turn off your sprinklers for the rest of this week, at least.

McCarthy said although she rents an apartment, she has taken it upon herself to reduce the building's watering to one day a week. 

"I sneak in and tinker with the controls," she said. "I know the grass is getting watered everyday, so my fellow renters and I have figured out how to adjust our sprinkling system."