Now imagine the concern when local residents saw park sprinklers going off in the middle of a downpour.
Several community members have voiced their concerns, on the Tracy Talks Facebook page, about the perceived wastefulness of water use during periods of steady rainfall. Tracy is home to 72 parks. How does the city manage all those sprinklers?
“Over 95 percent of our parks are controlled by a central control irrigation system,” said Don Scholl, superintendent of parks, sports fields and trees. “The computer talks to the weather station and calculates wind, temperature, humidity and type of plants being watered. With the information, the computer makes adjustments and sends them out. Water may still come on, but it would be very briefly, versus what it may be during summer.”
“We can also make manual adjustments,” Scholl added. “This past weekend, with all the continuous rain, most of the larger parks’ sprinklers were shut down.”
According to the California Department of Water Resources, 2013 was the driest year recorded in history for many areas in California. Also according to the same source, the water being stored in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins has been declining during the past two years.
Tracy is on a 20 percent voluntary water cut-back. On Jan. 14, the Sacramento City Council voted in favor of a required 20 percent reduction in water use citywide, leaving the door open for other cities to vote on similar methods. In a nutshell, making the act of wasting water a crime.
What does the future hold for our town? What are your thoughts?
• Anne Marie Fuller is the host of “Helpful Hints with Anne Marie” on Channel 26. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.