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Caltrans Trying To Cut Water Use In Half

Richard Vogel / File / AP

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2014, file photo, morning traffic makes its way toward downtown Los Angeles along the Hollywood Freewaympast an electronic sign warning of severe drought.

Richard Vogel / File / AP

Caltrans maintains more than 30,000 acres of landscaping along state highways. The transportation agency says it’s trying to reduce its water use by 50 percent. 

Gilbert Mohtes Chan, with Caltrans, says the agency has installed smart meters to control landscape irrigation, which accounts for 75 percent of the agency's water use.

"Beyond our landscaping we’re also reducing use at our facilities," he says. "We’re, for example, cutting back on washing our vehicles, using recycled water."

Mohtes Chan says Caltrans used more than 7 billion gallons of water in 2013 and reduced that to about 5 billion last year. He says the agency is on its way to meeting the 50 percent reduction goal.