Following are proven techniques to optimize water usage of your sprinkler system:
1. Schedule Your Irrigation. Adjust the running time of your irrigation controller based on the seasonal changes in the weather. Do this monthly since this will provide you with the most water savings relative to time invested. It will take you just a few minutes to adjust the timer, and probably even less if your controller has a system key.
An important aspect of scheduling is knowing the water needs of particular plants. If you have plants that are water-hungry, irrigating them is easy since you simply have to give them as much water as you can. On the other hand, there are some plants whose roots must not be wet for longer than a day or they will die. In this case, you have to ensure that you are giving them just enough water and allowing time for excess water to evaporate or run off.
2. Program the timer. If you have an automatic sprinkler system, program the timer so that it runs in two to three short bursts rather than a longer period. Make sure that you provide enough time in between the bursts to allow the water to seep into the ground and avoid run-off. For example, you can program your system to water in four-minute bursts, separated by at least thirty minutes. This will increase the effectiveness of your irrigation, since the water has already built up on top of the plants. By ending the watering after just four minutes, you allow the collected water to soak into the ground, avoiding wasted water through run-offs.
3. Operate your irrigation system in the morning. Since the temperature is cooler, there is less water that is lost due to evaporation. Avoid watering your lawn at night since the water will sit on the plants all night, which can cause plant diseases to develop.
4. Fix leaky valves. You can tell if you have this problem by looking for water that is running over curbs or onto sidewalks when the sprinklers are turned off. This problem is usually caused by sand stuck in the valve, which prevents it from closing completely. All you have to do is clean the valve or replace it.
5. Check for blockage. Make sure that the sprinkler head is not being blocked by tall grass or shrubbery. This problem usually happens with sprinkler heads that pop up, resulting in wasted water as well as uneven watering. You can solve this problem by replacing the sprinkler head with one that pops up four inches or more. You can also trim the shrubs to ensure that they are not blocking the spray from the heads.