Is Your Irrigation System Wasting Water?



A common culprit in an irrigation system that is wasting water is broken or misaligned equipment. This can be simple or complex to fix.  Some common problems are broken sprinkler heads, water lines, and valve boxes.

Sprinkler Heads

Sprinkler heads can commonly malfunction. They are easy for pedestrians to trip over, and they are prone to being broken during routine lawn and landscaping maintenance. Especially as the spray heads get older, they are more likely to become damaged or misaligned. Some of the more common ailments for sprinkler heads are for them to become clogged, broken, or stuck. You can usually spot a broken sprinkler head by looking for a cracked or broken head, wildly spraying water, water not spraying at all, or heads that don’t pop up.

Broken Water Lines

If there are a series of sprinkler heads that are not working, the water line is probably to blame. Look for signs of leaking water, which can include a depression in the ground, water bubbling up, or simply a very wet area. Sometimes it is an easy to fix leak. Other times, the line could be crushed or obstructed by tree roots, compressed soil, and more. Leaky pipes can go unnoticed for years, causing your water bill to skyrocket. Leaky pipes are a huge cause of large amounts of wasted water.

Valve Box

Valve boxes play an important role in your sprinkler system but aren’t usually given much thought. They control the workings of your irrigation system. If a water valve is loose, it could cause water to continuously seep out, causing water to ultimately be wasted.


Uniformity is very important in having an efficient irrigation system. It’s very important for your sprinklers to be properly spaced, thus ensuring that your entire yard is covered and there isn’t any doubling up from misplaced sprinkler heads. If your sprinkler heads are properly spaced, your lawn and landscaping should be getting an even amount of water.

Mixed Precipitation Rate Sprinklers in the Same Zone

Not every sprinkler has the same precipitation rate. When you mix higher precipitation rate sprinklers and lower precipitation rate sprinklers in the same zone, overwatering can commonly occur. If this is the case, a professional will need to evaluate your system and make some adjustments.

Not Adjusted to Properly Cover the Right Areas

Your sprinklers should be positioned so that head to head coverage is achieved. This simply means that water from one sprinkler reaches the next one. If there is a gap in coverage, this can lead to underwatered sections. If one sprinkler head sprays over another one, this leads to overwatering and wasted water and money. Your grass and plants will absorb what they need to survive. Water they don’t need will sit and pool on the surface of your grass.


Improper watering times waste water. When you set your scheduling times, you are determining how frequently your yard is watered, how long it’s watered for, and the amount of water that is applied. An improperly programmed controller can make it or break it when it comes to overwatering. If you are noticing runoff, it might be wise to split your watering times into two smaller increments instead of one long watering session. Every sprinkler system should have a working rain or moisture sensor installed. This sensor will monitor how much rain has fallen and adjust the sprinkler schedule accordingly. This can be a huge water saver.


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