How to Make Your Landscape Irrigation System Water Efficient

Do you know the amount of water your landscape irrigation system uses? Watering an acre to a depth of 1 inch requires more than 27,000 gallons of water. You can multiply your acreage with this figure to approximate the amount of water you’ll need in gallons.

The amount of water you use for irrigation is far more than what you use in your swimming pool. An ordinary 16-by-32 swimming pool only needs about 20,000 gallons of water.

If the pool is for private home use, you can only fill it once a year. On the other hand, irrigation consumes a lot of water because you must do it weekly.

A Few Things You Need to Know

  • On average, 30 percent of the water you use at home goes to irrigation.
  • Improper installation/maintenance of an irrigation system and poor system design causes the loss of about half the water. Evaporation causes some of the water to disappear as well.
  • If you’ve installed an automatic irrigation system, you need to maintain and operate it well. Otherwise, you’ll lose about 25,000 gallons of water every year.

From the above facts, you can see that landscape irritation contributes a big chunk to your water bill. Matters can get worse if the system is not well-maintained.

Here are some tips you can use to improve the efficiency of your landscape irrigation system.

Installing a Rain-Shut-Off Controller

The best way to water your landscape is to use rainwater. Rainwater is free, no matter the size of your land. If you have an irrigation system, it would be wasteful if it keeps running while the rain is falling. That’s why you need an automatic switch to turn your system off whenever it is raining.

The automatic switches have sensors that will turn off your irrigation system when enough rain has fallen. Such an automatic switch can help you save between 15 and 20 percent of water.

Installing a Sprinkler Check Valve

Check valves are very important. That’s why many devices and equipment use them. Check valves regulate, stop, or start the flow of water (or any other materials). They also help to prevent backflow.

If the pressure in your irrigation system gets too low, the valve will automatically close, thus preventing reverse flow. This will prevent water from draining away from your irrigation system, which leads to water waste. A check valve will also protect your irrigation system against damage, which can result from the backflow.

Use Nozzles with High-Efficiency

Sprinkler nozzles or spray nozzles play a very vital role in irrigation systems. They are the parts that spread water onto your lawn. A high-efficiency nozzle will ensure even and accurate delivery of water.

You also need adjustable nozzles that can deliver the right amount of water needed for irrigation. If the nozzle isn’t working well, some water will drop directly to the ground. This leads to a lot of wastage. This will increase your water bill by up to 30 percent. So, as your nozzle is operating, check around it to make sure no water runs down to the ground. If you notice any leakage, replace the nozzle.

Use Drip Irrigation

Generally, sprinkler systems are the best to use for landscape irrigation. A better alternative would be to have plants that allow the use of drip irrigation.

Drip irrigation is great for areas with shrubs or trees. This system is 90 percent more efficient at saving water than the sprinkler system. This is because it targets the specific plants and applies water directly to their roots.

Drip irrigation minimizes the wastage of water through runoff and evaporation. If you can have the two systems combined, that’s well and good. You can use the sprinkler on grassy areas and use drip irrigation on areas with trees and shrubs.

Programming

Research has shown that many people use more water than necessary in their landscapes. There’s a new technology that lets people water their lawns according to seasons and zones.

Different zones have different needs for water. It depends on the plants, whether there is shade or sun, and the type of soil. When you irrigate uniformly, some areas will get enough water. Others, on the other hand, will get too much.

Zoning means each area gets the exact amount of water it needs. Watering by season means you only water an area when it needs it. Tailoring the irrigation schedule to the specific landscape conditions and plant requirements can save you a lot of water.

Check for Any Leaks

If your water bill suddenly jumps, it means you probably have some leaks in your irrigation system. Compare your water bills over the last few months to find out whether there are some sudden changes.

Underground pipes can break, or some joints can get loose. Have your irrigation system checked to guarantee every pipe and joint is in perfect condition. 

Irrigate Less Frequently but Deeply

Overwatering can harm some of your plants. That’s why it is advisable to water infrequently but deeply. Infrequent watering will encourage the plants to grow stronger and deeper. It also reduces runoff, which leads to a waste of water.

It is also advisable to water your plants at dawn. When you water during the day, some water will evaporate from the plants and burn them. Irrigating in the evening causes the growth of bacteria and fungus on the plants, which can harm them.

Irrigation System Audit

As you continue using your irrigation system, its efficiency will begin to deteriorate. That’s why you need to have a complete audit of your system once every three years. Only an irrigation expert can carry out the audit. 

Final Words

Plants make our environment attractive and healthy, but only if they are well taken care of. To improve the look of your environment, you can hire a professional landscaper.

After doing the landscaping, you’ll need to install an efficient irrigation system to ensure your plants remain healthy.

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