Save Water with Your Irrigation System

Now is the time to start thinking about how you can save water with your irrigation system.

Did you know 70 percent of residential water in the United States is used outdoors? If you want to lower your water bill, the biggest impact on your wallet is found in your irrigation system and landscaping. You can easily use less water without removing your entire landscape by implementing water-efficient irrigation and replacing existing high-water use plants with lower water use plants. In this post we will discuss water efficient irrigation, including easy tips for success.
Chart showing 70 percent water use outdoors

Tip 1: Look for broken irrigation heads, severed lines, missing emitters and other issues with your irrigation system.

It’s about time to turn on your irrigation system for the spring season. Whether you do it yourself or have your landscape company turn on your irrigation, we recommend spending some time looking for broken parts on both your drip and sprinkler systems.

Once your irrigation is charged, turn on each zone independently so you can observe. Note broken heads, missing emitters, water pooling and severed lines. If you have a landscape company, they should have the tools and parts in their truck to make repairs. If you are doing it yourself, make a list and head to the store.

Tip 2: Once all parts are fixed, you want to check that sprinklers and drip line emitters are applying water to the desired plant material.

You don’t want to waste water by watering pavement instead of your lawn. Look for heads that are facing the wrong direction and adjust as needed.

Drip irrigation is a little more work to check because it is often covered by mulch material. If you can easily reach your drip irrigation line, check that it is still in the correct location to water plant material. If plants are showing signs of death, look for issues with the drip line. It may have been severed or clogged causing your plant material to suffer.

Tip 3: Install efficient irrigation.

When replacing broken parts, always stay consistent with brands and spray bodies. To reduce water use, we recommend matched precipitation, high-efficiency nozzles and sprinklers with built in pressure regulators.  

Tip 4: If you are tech-savvy, we recommend installing smart irrigation technology, such as a weather based irrigation controller (WBIC).

Rain Bird and Hunter Weather Based Irrigation Controllers help you reduce water waste.

WBICs are different from conventional controllers. They use evapotranspiration data to determine irrigation schedules. As there are many options to consider, you will want to consult your landscape company or local irrigation supply shop for more information and to help you choose the best one for you.

If you don’t want to delve into the land of weather data, you can implement sensors with your conventional controller. Sensors include ET, flow, rain, wind and freeze. Some can be easily plugged into your existing controller.

For instance, a rain sensor will shut down the irrigation controller during periods of measurable rainfall. These sensors can be inexpensive options to help you reduce your water use.

Simple changes to your irrigation system can significantly reduce your landscape water waste and lower your water bill. If you prefer that a professional audit your irrigation system for efficiency, we recommend calling a certified QWEL professional. Reno Green Landscaping has certified QWEL professionals that can help you improve your existing system. To learn more about the QWEL program, visit

Healthy Lawn Care Practices Can Reduce Water Too

For a healthy lawn, remember to use good lawn care practices as well. If possible, water grass in the early morning, following watering restrictions by your water authority, to ensure adequate time for water to soak into the ground and reach grass roots. Afternoon heat can cause quick evaporation increasing water waste. Also, do not over fertilize your turfgrass. This can cause many problems, including a need to increase lawn watering.

Lastly, if you have more lawn than you are even using, think about reducing the size of to a more functional amount. Reducing the amount of lawn you have to irrigate can save water and improve your water bill, without sacrificing an area for dogs or children to play.

Irrigation system lawn care