Updated: What’s Wrong With These Pictures?

It’s 2:45 p.m. and sprinklers at both Burberry and Northborough parks (pictured here) are cycling. Not only does this violate the city’s own brand-new Water Conservation Ordinance which stipulates no watering between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., but today is also a Spare The Water day as declared by the city because temps are over the 100-degree mark. Oh, an NO WATERING IS SUPPOSED TO OCCUR ON MONDAYS!

Before our dear readers chastise THE BUZZ for posting these pics and criticizing the city instead of reporting the water waste, please know we have tried to follow protocol in the past with mixed success.

Our call to 311 a month ago to report a broken water valve spewing water at Sycamore Park was not unlike calling overseas customer service at the Sac Bee – the operator could not understand the problem and therefore no report was taken. And another time, when we tried to pass on a NATOMAS BUZZ reader’s observation that the lawn was going brown at several area parks, we were assured it was because of the city’s water conservation efforts. Later we found out a valve was broken and Burberry Park was simply not being watered.

With some Natomas residents getting notes on their doors declaring they are “breaking” the new water law, THE BUZZ can’t help but wonder who is watching whether the city follows its own rules?

Our friends at KCRA shared this similar story with us about parks downtown being over watered and violating the new ordinance. The excuse? The sprinkler system had been “tampered with” and the city manager’s office was “looking into” the issue.


  1. I called 311 on Friday to report a broken sprinkler that was on a 2:15pm. The operator told me that the water rules don’t apply to parks or city property. I don’t believe her!

  2. Anonymous says

    I see Westlake Community Park being watered every day, even Mondays. And it is usually early in the morning. They always seem to be watering the basketball court versus that actual grass.

  3. Anonymous says

    Seems to be another case of “do as I say, not as I do” by the government. Shouldn’t the city be fined, as per their rules for the common folk? I’m sorry but in a drought & spare the water situation, nobody should be exempt from the rules.

  4. I called 311 a couple months ago to find out how to get our trash can replaced that was damaged by the garbage truck. The 311 operator was extremely helpful and we had a new can the next week. Maybe 311 hasn’t been immune to all the cutbacks as well.

    I agree the city should be following their own rules. But I have to say, I’m not the least bit surprised.

  5. Another reader tells us the median on Del Paso Road, between Natomas Boulevard and Blackrock is being watered regularly around Noon. Obviously not isolated to parks.

  6. They probably can’t afford to pay someone to go around and re-program all the sprinkler systems.

  7. Anonymous says

    In south Natomas no one must be aware of the new rules because no one follows them–watering on the wrong day, at the wrong times and all over the sidewalk.

  8. Anonymous says

    I’m sickened by the city’s response to you. This is ridiculous!!! Way to catch them in the act…

  9. I was told that the city gave two reasons for watering off cycle and mid-day.

    1. “There are roughly 150 city parks and a majority of them are manual timers, we just don’t have the staff to change all of the timers”

    …and I say hmmmm…1 person changing 3 timers per day, 5 days a week, for 10 days = 150 parks…

    2. “We water at mid-day so that the grass doesn’t die”

    …ok but look at the parks in Natomas being watered mid-day. THE GRASS IS STILL DYING!

    Also, as quoted from Cornell University Gardening Resources Website:

    ‘When? Never water at night. The best time to water is early in the morning, between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. Evaporation is low at this time so more of the water makes it into the soil. Also, leaves will begin drying quickly in the morning sun, reducing the chances of diseases. Avoid watering on cloudy days.

    How much? It’s tough to say. It depends on the soil type, cutting height, use, temperature, wind and a host of other factors. But in general, a healthy lawn loses about 1 inch of water per week during summer. (The water lost from the soil through the leaves and through the surface of the soil is called evapotranspiration, or ET.)

    If you receive an inch of rainfall every week through summer, chances are pretty good that your lawn should come through with little moisture stress. If you get less, you can make up the difference through sprinklers or an irrigation system. Your water application rate should supplement what you receive as rain. If you get ½ inch of rain one week, only apply another half inch.

    Use a rain gauge, coffee cans or other containers to measure rainfall and supplemental water.

    It’s also important not to apply water faster than your soil can take it up. How fast your soil can absorb water is called its infiltration rate. When your irrigation rate is higher than the infiltration rate, puddling occurs on level areas. But on slopes, the water will run off and can carry sediments and other pollutants with it.

    What about drought? It is normal for cool-season grasses to experience “summer dormancy” in response to lack of moisture. But studies show that as little as ¼ inch of water over a three week period can be enough to keep the sod from dying.

    Under all but the most severe conditions, it is better to avoid lawn watering, especially if your watering system isn’t precise. Too much or too little supplemental water can weaken plants, making them more susceptible to pest problems and less likely to recover when cool, moist conditions return.’

    Seems that maybe all the smarties over at the City need to do some research!!

  10. I was at the South Natomas Library one day 2 weeks ago when the Community Center sprinklers were watering away at noon. Not even 50 feet away was a City Parks Department truck with 2 employees outside of it. I called 311 and reported the violation and the City Operator told me that the Parks Department would be notified right away. I went inside the library for 5 minutes and when I came back out, the sprinklers were off. Did my call work?

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