Irrigation Facts and Tips – How to Reduce Outdoor Water Use

  • Thirty percent of water used by the average American household is devoted to outdoor water use, and more than half of that is used for watering lawns and gardens.
  • More than 50 percent of residential irrigation water is lost due to evaporation, runoff, overwatering, or improper system design/installation/maintenance.
  • Estimated savings potential for initial WaterSense product areas—high-efficiency toilets, faucets, and irrigation controllers—based on a 10-percent replacement of existing fixtures, is estimated to be more than 150 billion gallons per year, or almost twice the annual rainfall of Seattle, Washington.
  • Automatic timers might be convenient but can increase water waste. Residences with automatic timers use more water than residences without timers: irrigation systems use 47 percent more, in-ground sprinklers use 35 percent more, garden systems use 30 percent more, and drip irrigation systems use 16 percent more.
  • Weather-based irrigation controllers can reduce water use by 20 percent compared to conventional equipment, potentially saving more than 24 billion gallons per year across the United States—approximately equal to more than 7,000 hoses running non-stop for a full year.
  • The best time to water your yard is early morning, when winds are calm and temperatures are cool.
  • Grass doesn’t need to be watered every day; make sure your lawn really needs it before irrigating. If you can stick a screwdriver into your lawn easily—don’t water!
  • Using native plants that require less watering and are adapted to your climate can reduce outdoor water use by 20 to 50 percent.