By Kiet Do

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — If the Santa Clara Valley Water District’s own “water waste inspectors” were to hit the streets this week, they wouldn’t have to go far.

For the past couple of days, KPIX 5 has been checking up on the sprinklers at the District’s headquarters in South San Jose. A broken head spewing water onto the parking lot was found, as well as multiple nozzles shooting water onto the concrete.

The video was shown to the District, which is set to hire a small army of water waste inspectors to go out and talk to homeowners.

“Anybody who gets a knock on the door saying ‘Fix your sprinklers,’ I can imagine them saying, ‘Well, you’re a hypocrite!” said Marty Grimes of the Santa Clara Valley Water District. “Well, we’re checking our sprinklers as often as we can,” he added. “We’re fixing the problem as soon as we know about them.”

But practically everybody’s guilty to some degree.

KPIX 5 visited a dozen homes and businesses all over the South Bay and found overspraying sprinklers at every location.

Nozzles that are adjusted properly at first still need regular tune-ups. New technology, like pressure regulators and angle control, are always coming out.

San Jose resident Ron Buckley takes extra care to dial-in the pressure of his sprinkler. The corners of his lawn are dead and brown. His message to the Water District is simple: “Get your own house in order first, then call upon us,” Buckley said. “If you want to start fining people for watering the sidewalk a little bit, then you better take care of yours first.”

Since February, the District says it has cut its own water use by 29 percent, saving millions of gallons. As for their own over-spraying, they are the first to admit they’re not perfect.

“Hopefully when we go out and encourage people to fix their problems, they’ll realize that we’re just pointing out something that needs to be addressed,” Grimes said. “Just like [KPIX 5] pointed out something we needed to address.”

To their credit, the District jumped on the problem right away. They’re guessing they were wasting about a couple dozen gallons of water per day.

The Santa Clara Water District will take the next three weeks to recruit, hire and train inspectors to be on patrol at the end of the month or beginning of September.


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