SACRAMENTO Calif. December 20, 2019 – With the start of winter on Sunday, local water providers are reminding customers to set their sprinkler timer to “off” and let Mother Nature do the watering.

“The season’s shorter and cooler days mean your sprinklers shouldn’t need to run until spring,” said Amy Talbot, Water Efficiency Program Manager for the Regional Water Authority, which represents nearly two dozen water providers serving 2 million people in the greater Sacramento area. “Or, if the weather is dry for several weeks, check soil moisture first and hand water, if needed.”

Here are some ways to check to see if your yard needs supplemental water:

  • Use a moisture meter. Simply push the moisture meter into the soil six to eight inches deep and check the reading. Make sure to check a few different spots in your yard and your potted plants as well.
  • Do the screwdriver test. Stick an eight‐inch screwdriver into the soil. If you can push it in more than three inches below the surface, you don’t need to water.
  • Dig down six to eight inches with a small shovel or trowel and grab a handful of soil. Roll the soil around in the palm of your hand. If the soil easily forms a ball in your hand, you don’t need to water.

More smart watering tips are available at, which hosts several brief videos for customers:

The Regional Water Authority (RWA) is a joint powers authority representing 21 water providers serving 2 million people in the greater Sacramento region. Formed in 2001, its primary mission is to help its members protect and enhance the reliability, availability, affordability and quality of water resources. Learn more at