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Goleta Woman Videotapes Freeway Sprinklers Running in Broad Daylight

It’s not just the near-record heat making people’s blood boil this week. The sight of sprinklers, six of them, going off in broad daylight sent one woman fuming.

Caltrans found itself at the opposite end of the finger-pointing.

“They’re full power,” said Rachel Hamamoto, as she shows NewsChannel 3 a video clip on her cell phone. “And at the end, one of the sprinklers is broken and shooting in the wrong direction .. onto the freeway.”

Hamamoto said she couldn’t believe her eyes and had to take the video clip.

“I was just shocked,” said Hamamoto. “It was 1:10 in the afternoon and sprinklers were going. And not just one or two but a whole bank of sprinklers.”

The Goleta woman said it happened Thursday along the Turnpike onramp to the northbound Highway 101 over a slice of decorative landscaping.

“I know the plants need watering but we’re supposed to water after 4:00,” said Hamamoto.

The longtime resident was angered by the sight. After all, she’s let her English garden and lawn die off. And she’s recycling her shower water.

“This drought has really affected us much more than the last one,” she said.

Hamamoto put in two calls: One to the water district, the other to NewsChannel 3.

“I have no idea how often it happens.”

City workers told her it was Caltrans’ property. So, we put in a call to public information officer Colin Jones.

“We had a water line break out there and crews were out doing repairs yesterday and testing it,” Jones told NewsChannel 3 by phone.

Then, something else went wrong.

“One of the valves got trapped open by some debris,” Jones said.

The sprinklers spewed for more than an hour until crews could shut it off.

Jones said this particular area hasn’t been watered for weeks and that Caltrans’ goal is to reduce water usage throughout California by 50 percent.

And you’ll notice as you drive the state’s freeways.

Jones asks drivers to keep an eye out, just like Hamamoto did.

“We want people if they see a malfunction out there to let us know,” said Jones.

Jones also said this type of problem is rare but systems do malfunction and if you see that, call Caltrans’ public affairs at (805) 549-3318.

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