Water Conservation

Water Conservation


With proper design, care, and management practices, a bluegrass lawn becomes a beautiful part of a water conserving landscape. Due to substantial research, experts agree that bluegrass watering can be cut by 50 percent by properly training your lawn. Less than 21 inches of supplemental water per year is all that is required. Water measuring kits are available to determine irrigation system application rates and efficiency. Sprinkler system design is extremely important. Members of the Utah Irrigators Association (UIA) stand ready to suggest landscaping and sprinkler design specialists who are committed to water conservation practices. They can be located at www.utahia.org

Landscape design has a dramatic effect on water conservation!  Some landscape elements such as narrow strips of lawn less than 8 feet wide generally cannot be watered efficiently. A well-balanced, water-wise landscape often features a central lawn area encompassed by a border comprised of trees, shrubs, rocks and garden decor. This is a practical way to create space for lawn activities that is encompassed by an attractive, defined perimeter. Plants requiring similar amounts of water can be placed in the same irrigation zone and areas that do not require water can be left dry. Watering systems are versatile and can be designed to deliver water with precision. Smart designs are stunning to look at and simple to maintain. The initial cost and effort expended to establish a water-wise yard will save you money and labor for years to come

Before we dive into discussing automatic, in-ground sprinkler systems, it is important to note that hose-end sprinklers, also called portable sprinklers, are a perfectly suitable alternative. Dragging a hose around a yard is more time consuming and less convenient. However, hose draggers have proven to be very conscientious and more in tune with their landscapes. If you are not able to install a sprinkler system or if you relish spending extra time caring for your plants, hose-end sprinklers can be an excellent method of watering your landscape.

An in-ground sprinkler system can be manipulated to serve a variety of conditions, from a small section of lawn to a large landscape where turfgrass is just a part of the scheme. When watering turfgrass lawns, sprinkler heads should spread the water evenly using large water droplets. Sprinkler heads that mist or fog cause excessive water loss through evaporation. Water pressure should be adjusted to eliminate mist or fog. Additionally, water patterns should reach from sprinkler head to sprinkler head for maximum efficiency.

Most newer residential or commercial lawns are watered by in-ground automatic sprinkler systems. Chanshare Farms recommends that a Certified Irrigation Designer (CID) help design your system. If a contractor is designing your system, use a Certified Irrigation Contractor (CIC). If you choose to install your own system, classes are available through the Utah State University Extension Service. Many home centers, nurseries, and garden centers offer free advice and training. Ask if the instructor is I.A. certified.

Backflow Preventers

A backflow preventer connects the main line of the sprinkler system to the household water system and keeps the water from flowing back into the home’s potable water system. If you are in the process of building a home, ask your home builder to install this valve as part of the construction process. This will save you time and money later on.

Sprinkler System Design

A great deal of content is available on the subject of sprinkler system design. Most sprinkler supply companies have websites that offer sprinkler design help. Sometimes, the company where you purchase your sprinkler system will design your system for little or no additional cost. The best option is to consult a Certified Irrigation Designer. These experts will assist you in designing an effective watering system and will often waive the design fee when selected to supply and or install your sprinkler system.

Sprinkler System Efficiency

To obtain the most efficiency out of your sprinkler system, you must check and adjust your system often. No sprinkler system is 100 percent efficient. A good system will meet and exceed 70 percent efficiency. There is no substitute for the turfgrass owner inspecting the lawn regularly for proper irrigation, and adjusting the watering system as needed. Learn Your LAWN! Nothing can help more in water conservation than awareness. You can’t set your system in May and forget it until September.

Setting a timer to come on every day is irresponsible. When using an in-ground system with a timer, Chanshare Farms recommends that you spend the extra $200 to $500 to install either a soil moisture sensor or an E.T. sensor. Some areas have rebates available to help pay for these sensors. Set the system to apply the equivalent of 20 inches of supplemental irrigation water each year. Ask your designer, landscaper, or sprinkler parts supplier for details.


When water supplies are low, the focus of water conservation falls squarely on the Green Industry, especially those involved with lawns. Research shows that restricting watering to selected days or times, and even rationing irrigation water have not yielded the desired result. Much water can be conserved inside the home as well. In-house water conservation can potentially save enough water to fulfill the water needs of outdoor landscape in times of severe water shortage.