NORWALK - State health officials say a little rain Tuesday won't pull southwestern Connecticut out of its drought advisory.

The department says that rainfall is around 6 inches below normal this year, but the advisory is not the same as declaring an official drought.

The advisory is meant to give people a chance to start conserving water early.

Jeff Gerbert, a landscape expert, advises residents not to water the lawn during the afternoon because water will evaporate at that time of the day. 

Gerbert says native plants use less water than some imports. So does grass cut no shorter than 3.5 inches.

In-ground sprinklers, which often include timers and sensors, also save a lot of water, but hose-attached sprinklers can also be placed on timers, he says. Lawns need about 45 minutes of watering every other day, he says. It should be done overnight when the air is coolest and evaporation is at a minimum.