Sun emerges after rainy month of May, but experts say leave sprinklers off for now

Posted at 6:26 PM, May 29, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY -- After weeks of rain, the sun is finally out--but water conservationists say the sprinklers still need to stay off.

"There is plenty of moisture in the soil from all this rain, and we're probably a good week out before we even need to water again,” said Cynthia Bee with the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District.

The string of storms in May brought double or triple the amount of rain for most of the state. It's enough water that the Division of Water Resources says the sprinklers should stay off--at least for now.

“Just like over-eating is not good for our bodies, over-watering is not good for our lawns; let them be healthy, let those roots grow down deep, and let the lawns be stronger," said Joshua Palmer with the Division of Water Resources.

This summer marks the fourth year in a row of drought conditions, and water conservationists say it’s vital not to waste a drop.

But how do you know when it's time to turn on the sprinklers?

Bee said there's a few simple tricks to tell when the time is right.

"The screwdriver test, we take a nice long screwdriver, insert it into the ground and if it goes in smoothly like this you can tell that the soil is still really wet; if you try to push it in and you meet a lot of resistance, that means it's time to water,” Bee said.

You can also step on the grass, and if your foot print pops back up the lawn has enough water. The water conservancy district also has a map online showing what areas in Utah actually need to water and how much.

“Rain is only as good as the decisions we make, so if we decide not to water our lawns right now then the rain can have a lot of benefit," Palmer said. "If we decide we're just going to water like we always have and not conserve, it doesn't have as much benefit--so it's really important that we make conservation-minded decisions."

For more information about water conservation and the ways you can help, click here.