What is an irrigation audit?

smart irrigation month

Welcome to the second week of Smart Irrigation Month. Not familiar with Smart Irrigation Month? “Smart Irrigation Month is an Irrigation Association initiative celebrated throughout July to promote the social, economic and environmental benefits of efficient irrigation technologies, products and services in landscape, turf and agricultural irrigation.” Learn more.

Just moved into a new home or just not sure how well your irrigation system is running? An irrigation audit is just what you need to fine tune your irrigation for water-efficiency!

What is a water irrigation audit?

A water irrigation audit is simply evaluating your sprinkler irrigation in its current state to evaluate system performance, create an effective watering schedule, and make adjustments to improve irrigation efficiency.

A site inspection is done by visually inspecting irrigation for clearly visible issues, such as broken sprinkler heads, severed lines, and more. Next is to run the irrigation with catch cups laid out in a grid pattern on the surface of the lawn. The amount of water in each cup with help a certified landscape irrigation auditor determine irrigation efficiency and uniformity.

irrigation audit
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Who performs an the audit?

We suggest hiring a Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL) or Irrigation Association (IA) certified professional to perform an audit for you. They will have the correct tools and training to conduct an audit efficiently.

Reno Green Landscaping’s irrigation specialists are QWEL certified and can perform an audit for you.

What does an audit tell you?

Performing an irrigation water audit will determine the sprinkler system’s efficiency and distribution uniformity as well as weekly and daily run times. An irrigation professional can help you determine the best schedule for your irrigation system using local watering guidelines and the results from the irrigation audit catch can test.

Irrigation efficiency is based on how well your irrigation system was set up. Sometimes an irrigation professional may recommend adding irrigation heads to a lawn area for better irrigation efficiency and uniformity. It is best practice that spray heads have head-to-head coverage. If your irrigation does not have head-to-head coverage, you will have poor distribution uniformity and will see spots of your lawn that may begin to die from not enough water to the root zone.

The irrigation audit will give an irrigation professional weekly run times based on local weather data, plant water requirements and your irrigation’s efficiency. Using the weekly run times, the irrigation professional can select daily run times by choosing how many days per week you are allowed to run your irrigation. For many of us in the TMWA jurisdiction, we can only irrigate three days per week. The irrigation professional will take your weekly run time and divide it by three for your daily run time. Then he will take your daily run time and divide it by your time to run off to decide how long each run cycle will be.

For instance, if your weekly run time was 60 minutes and your time to run off was 10 minutes, then you would want your irrigation to run three days per week at 20 minutes per day. To determine each run cycle’s duration, divide 20 by your time to run off, 10, and you get two run cycles of 10 minutes each.

A water audit is a great way to know how to schedule your irrigation for water efficiency and plant health. Remember, like any plan, you will need to monitor and adjust as needed. It is best to hire an irrigation professional for this reason. You can visit QWEL.net for a list of certified QWEL professionals in your area.