WaterBusters: News10 looks at its 'irresponsible' water use and makes big changes

SACRAMENTO - At the beginning of this year, News10 launched WaterBusters, a campaign to hold people and businesses accountable for wasting water.

Soon after, a water inspector visited the station and found hundreds of thousands of gallons of water was being wasted.

News10 was using more than 7,000 gallons of water every single day, in large part because of broken sprinkler heads, busted sprinkler lines, a leaking air conditioning unit and more.

"I was shocked. I was appalled," News10 General Manager Maria Barrs said. "We were in the process of calling other people out for being irresponsible. I hated the fact that we weren't living up to the same standard."

Now we are. After fixing everything we could and adding aerators in the kitchens and bathrooms, News10 cut water usage by 88 percent, dropping from 492,109 gallons in November 2013 to 57,745 gallons in March.

However, News10 maintenance engineer Jesse Rosas said things aren't perfect.

During a quick check Thursday, he found sprinkler runoff in the parking lot and on the sidewalks.

Rosas will soon be installing new sprinkler heads that allow greater control.

"It was quite embarrassing, to tell you the truth," he said, talking about what the free city of Sacramento inspection of News10 found. "But we were able to get on it right away and correct it."

"It was ridiculously easy," Barrs said. "It was embarrassing more than anything else."

The number one thing homeowners can do to be water-wise is regularly check automatic sprinkler heads. They can easily get broke or turned away from the area you want to water.

There's also the financial incentive. When News10 cut use by 88 percent, the water bill dropped $700 a month.


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