December rainfall in Bakersfield was significantly above average: Should you be using your sprinklers?

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — In response to the state’s worsening drought, both the City of Bakersfield and Cal Water Service placed Bakersfield under water restrictions last month. Now, the recent rain is tightening those restrictions.

“Since Oct. 1, we’ve picked up 3.48 inches in the gauge,” 17 News Chief Forecaster Kevin Charette said. “Normally, we should be at an inch and three quarters, we are up right now over an inch and a half.”

In November, the city and Cal Water announced Bakersfield residents would be limited to turning on their sprinklers only three times a week for those on the city side and only twice per week for those on Cal Water’s side. But Bakersfield District Manager for Cal Water Service Tamara Johnson said the recent downpour triggers another restriction in its drought mitigation plan.

“[We require customers to] turn their sprinkler systems off during a substantial rain event and for 48 hours after a substantial rain event,” Johnson said. “A substantial rain event is where we receive at least a quarter of an inch of rain.”

Overall, December blew that quarter-inch threshold out of the water.

“As you take a look at the top five wettest Decembers on record, Bakersfield right now sitting in the top 3 with 2.53 inches,” Charette said.

Johnson said while the restrictions mandate only a two-day waiting period, jumping to turn your sprinklers on at the 48-hour-mark is unnecessary. She, personally, has had hers off for weeks.

“Take a look at your landscaping, if you still see quite a bit of moisture content, then you know that you can hold off,” she said. “With the rain and the colder weather, we haven’t had a lot of sun to dry everything out.”

The 48-hour post-rain waiting period applies to those who get their water from the City of Bakersfield as well. Public Information Officer Joe Conroy said the city has been trying to remind people of the rule via social media.

We spoke with one Bakersfield resident, Rylee Mabbalot, who said he had never heard of the restrictions, but still waters his lawn only once or twice per week.

We can see how recent rain impacted dry conditions when the state’s drought monitor is updated on Thursday.

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