The rainy season may have begun, but Southern California’s water supply situation is still cloudy and we’ve had a few good storms already. We’re no Seattle, but the little rain we get helps take the strain off our water supply. But we’re not cashing in on the blue gold that falls from the sky if we’re soaking lawns and gardens before it rains or – worse yet – while it’s raining.
Soil can’t absorb any more water, whether from the hose, sprinklers or the sky, if it’s already saturated. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to the weather and turn off sprinklers for about three days before and three days after it rains. The soil will then be ready to absorb the rainfall, giving your plants a free shot of water and helping to recharge Pasadena’s groundwater basin. Watering during rain is obviously and excessively wasteful and prohibited by Pasadena’s water shortage procedures. (Violators may receive fines of $100 or more.)
Once the rain stops, PWP recommends that you skip watering for a few days because plants are already well fed and the rain-soaked soil won’t absorb more water; excess will simply run into the gutter. A good rule of thumb before deciding to water your lawn is to step on the grass. If it rebounds quickly, it doesn’t need watering.
All totaled, turning off sprinklers before, during and after a good rain can save Pasadena 80 to 175 million gallons of water in a week, depending on the time of year. It really pays to check the forecast!