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California drought takes to the roadways

Caltrans to program highway signs to urge water conservation

Posted: February 11, 2014 10:17 a.m.
Updated: February 11, 2014 10:17 a.m.

SACRAMENTO – In response to the state’s severe drought, Caltrans is launching a statewide educational campaign on the state’s highways, urging all Californians to conserve water. Beginning today, California’s more than 700 electronic highway signs will display the following water conservation message:



“Caltrans has already taken action to sharply restrict water usage,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “Using our highway message signs, we are asking California’s 24 million drivers to join us in this important effort.”

Caltrans will support the campaign by using California’s electronic Changeable Message Signs along the highways to raise awareness of the severe drought and encourage Californians to conserve water. The signs will be activated when there are no critical emergency or traffic safety messages or Amber Alerts.

As a large department responsible for 30,000 acres of irrigated landscaping, Caltrans is making dramatic reductions in its irrigation activities. Effective this month, Caltrans will take the following actions:

Cut statewide irrigation activities by at least 50 percent.

Delay all new landscaping projects in severely impacted areas until the next rainy season to preserve the water supply. Postpone all non-essential highway planting.

Cease watering in areas of the state suffering from the most severe drought impacts.

Expand its use of smart irrigation technologies, which turn off automatically when it rains. Such systems can reduce water usage by as much as 50-60 percent.

Use recycled water for irrigation and other activities whenever possible.

Forgo washing vehicles except when necessary for safety.

The department is taking these conservation steps because the historic drought threatens all Californians with a dangerously dry summer and protecting the public and water supply is a top priority.

Note: The Signal delivers press releases from reliable sources to provide up-to-the-minute information to our website readers. Information directly from news sources has not been vetted by The Signal news room. It may appear subsequently in news stories after it has been vetted.



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