ROSEVILLE (CBS13) – In a drought, brown is the new green.

“You really can’t keep lawns green if you’re reducing water by 20 percent,” said Lisa Brown with the City of Roseville. “What we’re seeing is people want to do the right thing.”

And the right thing, water efficiency specialist John Shannon says, is to turn on your sprinklers and watch what happens.

“I think a lot of people just don’t realize what the plants need and take a good guess,” Shannon said.

Instead, take into account your yard. A nine minute cycle doesn’t mean it’s all staying on the lawn.

“Landscape on a slope contributes to runoff down to the storm drains and to the creeks and runoff so we want to try to prevent that,” Shannon said.

If it runs into the gutter after two minutes, that’s your target time. Set up another two minute cycle to run an hour later. By doing that, Shannon says you save water while giving your lawn a good drink.

“In the spring, it wasn’t so bad. The temps were mild,” Brown said. “We did see little shoots up in water use when we got into the 100 degree days. So when the summer months come, as long as the neighborhood does it, I think everybody will be okay.”

And experts suggest taking a good look at the color – most brown spots are still getting moisture so it should stay alive when winter comes. But when the grass starts to turn white, that’s a red flag.

Don’t grab the hose too fast, though, as officials say some plants you’re saving now you may have to let die if the water crisis worsens during the summer.

The best time to water, water efficiency specialists say, is right before dawn.

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