SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – South Bay water customers are now able to find ways to cut water consumption and save money with a free house call.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District’s ‘Water Wise House Calls’ is a program which sends a district employee to inspect homes, audit the usage and point out instances of water waste.

Even though I fancy myself as a socially-conscious, ‘green’ guy, Drew Mathers with the water district came to inspect my home and proved what a horrible water waster I was.

“We are here to see how much water you’re using and hopefully help find ways to save,” said Mathers.

Mathers measured flow rates using a plastic bag, and it turned out both my shower heads and all three of my faucets were fine.

But just to be safe, he installed a regulator on one faucet, reducing it from two, to 1.75 gallons a minute – you won’t even notice the difference.

Thanks to some blue dye dropped into the tank, we discovered one of the toilets had a slow leak. Drew actually fixed that too … again, for free.

But most home water waste is in the irrigation system.

One of my sprinkler heads was clogged, causing it to spray as a fine mist…up to 40-percent to evaporation alone.

Also, there was not one, nor two, nor three, but four busted sprinkler heads, wasting hundreds of gallons a month.

Most people don’t notice because sprinklers come on while they’re still in bed. I followed Mather’s advice and he just shut the whole thing down until I can get it fixed.

So much for my green-ness … I felt like a failure. “No, don’t feel like a failure,” said Mathers. “The whole point of this is not to make you feel bad. It’s really just to identify and help you conserve water, to save money on your water bill.”

Finally, if you decide to replace your lawn, the district will reimburse you a dollar for every square foot replaced. District officials will discuss Tuesday night whether to increase reimbursement as well as providing rebates for purchasing water-efficient appliances.

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