CalTrans was irrigating the Highway 163 median in the sun Monday morning in Balboa Park.

When I reported our series on San Diego’s largest water users last month, a CalTrans spokesman told me the agency irrigated only between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. That’s recommended for everyone who irrigates — it allows the water to soak in the soil instead of evaporating in the sun. CalTrans is one of the region’s biggest water users — the agency used 635 million gallons between July 2007 and June 2008, nearly 1 percent of the city’s drinking water.

On Monday, CalTrans sprinklers were chugging at 9:05 a.m. (Yes, I patrol for rogue sprinklers on my days off.)

I asked CalTrans what happened. Spokesman Edward Cartagena said a power surge or power outage caused a timer for the sprinklers there to reset to a factory-programmed setting.

CalTrans staff went out Tuesday and fixed the problem, Cartagena said.

“If it’s ever like that,” he said, “give us a call.”

CalTrans’ local office is: 619.688.6699.

If you see CalTrans watering in the rain — we’ve documented four examples since November — please e-mail me at E-mail me, too, if you see the road shoulders getting soaked during the day.


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