Here's How To Irrigate Your Lawn And Still Use Water Responsibly

Posted on: 12 November 2015

Since many areas of North America have started to experience serious drought conditions, the topic of residential irrigation systems has become increasingly politicized. What was once the perfect solution for keeping your lawn looking great, is now frowned upon by many people. However, it is possible to have your green lawn and be responsible too, if you take some steps to use your drip irrigation system effectively.

Fix Any Leaks Immediately

Drip irrigation systems are focused on the root systems of your plants. They slowly deliver water to a specific area. One of the fastest ways to waste water is to allow a leak to, well, leak. That is money coming out of your pocket, and perfectly good, usable water going to waste. While some would argue that the water is not truly lost, that water is just being absorbed by the soil and not necessarily by your lawn and plants. Your leak is wasting all that energy and those resources.

Finding a leaking sprinkler isn't easy, but it can be done. Checking a few times a year will ensure that your system remains in good repair. Start by looking down the line of sprinklers. Does the pressure seem to taper off at a certain point? Chances are there is a leak in the system before you get to that particular unit. You can also remove the last sprinkler in the line and check to see how much pressure comes up from the open end. There should be almost as much as if you had connected a traditional garden hose to the line at the beginning. If water is coming up sluggishly, you have a problem upstream.

Use Good Scheduling Techniques to Use Less Water

There are two reasons that most sprinklers run early in the morning. The first is that this is when few people will be around to be annoyed by them. Second, and perhaps more important, this is when running the sprinklers will actually do the most good.

Morning is when plants are getting ready to turn sunlight into energy, but they haven't yet been hit by the heat of the sun. This means that if you water in the morning, they will be able to draw in the water before they have to close these systems to prevent evaporation in the sunlight. In the same way, Watering in the early hours of the morning will keep the water from being evaporated directly by the midday heat.

Update Your System With the Latest Technology

As with most technology, a lot of work has gone into making sprinkler systems more efficient in recent years. If your system is a decade or more old, you should at least replace the controller with an updated model. Where old controllers were mostly glorified timers, new systems do a lot to reduce water usage. They will actively help detect leaks, so you can find out there is a problem right away rather than waiting for your semi-annual check. They will vary the amount of water they use based on the temperature and recent rainfall. Since over-watering isn't just a waste, it is harmful to your lawn, this is a benefit to you whether you care about water usage or not.

While it is true that the easiest way to save water is to skip watering your lawn completely, that doesn't have to be the only option. It is entirely possible to make use of your irrigation system in a responsible manner. By keeping up on repairs and the latest technology, you can ensure your lawn stays nice and green with minimal water usage.