Landscape Water Conservation

One of the most wasteful areas of water use is irrigation. When irrigation systems malfunction or work improperly, the solution typically is to irrigate for longer durations. Irrigating landscapes for longer durations typically appears to fix the problem, but it is merely a way of masking the real problem: wasted water.
Irrigation systems are designed to provide water based upon plant water needs and the microclimates around them. This is done by creating a hydrozone, or an area of plants with similar water needs. For example; this is done by using irrigation stations for trees, separate stations for planters, and other stations for high water use flowers. By doing this, landscapers can prevent low water use plants from being over-watered.
In order to reduce wastewater in your landscape, it is recommended that you observe your irrigation system while it is running. Here are some of the most common irrigation problems:
Broken sprinkler heads: Broken sprinkler heads are most easily discovered when geysers of water spout up in the landscape. Some broken sprinkler heads are broken at the base, so they are not as dramatic. These broken sprinkler heads cause puddles of water around the sprinkler heads.
Broken pipes: Since nearly all irrigation pipes are run underground, they can be very difficult to detect when broken. However, broken pipes often create large areas of mud or moist dirt. This is caused by water leaking out of the pipe and seeping upwards to the surface.
High pressure: Some irrigation systems function with high pressure. This creates inefficiencies because the high pressure creates smaller droplets to be emitted from sprinkler heads. This is a problem because smaller droplets of water evaporate much more quickly than “normal” droplets. The easiest way to determine if your pressure is too high is by seeing mist blowing while the irrigation system is on.
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Brian O’Neill

2 thoughts on “Landscape Water Conservation

  1. It is true that appropriate irrigation can be troublesome because there are so many ways water runoff can be wasteful. Minding aspects of irrigation such as hydrozones, sprinkler heads, and system pressure are so important to conserving water.

    1. Yes, proper irrigation can be troublesome (and it often is)! While all forms of runoff are wasteful, proper methods of irrigating drastically reduce the amount of runoff. For individual plants, drip irrigation is often the best method because it applies a slow trickle of water directly to the root zone. The slow trickle allows water to permeate the ground slowly instead of running off into storm drains.

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