CalTrans held a press conference on the road shoulder of southbound Interstate 805 this morning to tout what it’s doing to conserve water. The agency is one of the largest water users in the county, consuming 1.1 billion gallons last year. (Enough for 6,750 families of four.)

While news crews gathered and CalTrans officials set up their placards touting their drought-tolerant landscaping, a row of sprinklers was gushing across the interstate, irrigating the road shoulder. It was 10:15 a.m. Local water agencies recommend watering only between dusk and dawn to reduce the amount of water lost to evaporation.

During the press conference, Pedro Orso-Delgado, the CalTrans district director, took two questions. The latter was mine: Why water during the day at the same time you’re touting water conservation?

“Those are the things we want to change,” Orso-Delgado said. “Those are the things we want to work with our contractors to make sure stuff like that is not happening.”

Well, I said, it is happening — just across the freeway.

“We’re going to fix that,” Orso-Delgado said.

And that was the end of the press conference. More on what the agency is doing shortly.


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