An irrigation system is one of the most water efficient ways to keep your garden nourished and hydrated. However, if it is an older system or has been put together by someone who is not a specialist – then there is a chance that you may be wasting water.
Water is a precious resource, and excessive usage of it is wasteful, damaging to the planet and burns a hole in your wallet. Here are some of our favourite ways to reduce the amount of water your irrigation system uses. Go over the list and ensure that you are making the most of your irrigation system.
Have your irrigation system audited: Call in the professionals to conduct an audit on your current system. They will be able to spot any flaws and suggest ways to make your system more water efficient.
Schedule the timer efficiently: Water plants in the morning. Because the temperature is cooler less water is lost to evaporation. If you use automatic sprinklers, program your irrigation timer so that it waters in 2-3 short cycles rather than over a single long period of time. This allows the water to soak into the ground and hydrate the roots more efficiently. For example, if you normally water for 15 minutes, try this; water for 4 minutes, then wait 30 minutes for the water to soak in. Then water another 4 minutes, and wait again, and so forth.
Make sure tall grass, groundcovers, or shrubs are not blocking the water: If plants have grown since you have had your system installed then there may be a chance that some of them are blocking the water from reaching other plants – resulting in water wastage and uneven watering. It may be time to redesign your system.
Relocate for more efficiency: Make sure you are watering the live stuff and not pooling water on paths and concrete. Move sprinklers so that they are between 10-15cm from the edge of sidewalks, curbs, patios and so forth. This will reduce water wastage drastically.
Install a rain switch: A rain switch is a simple rain sensor which will shut the water off when it rains.
Switch to newer sprinkler heads: Technology in sprinklers has advanced greatly, and now you have sprinklers that are designed to water plants slowly so that water gets soaked into the ground and not wasted in excess run-off.
Install drip irrigation for watering shrubs: Drip irrigation is extremely water efficient, as water can be applied directly to the roots and not wasted on leaves or areas where there are no plants.
Seek out an alternate source of irrigation water: Save on water and find other ways to source water for your garden. Water from creeks and dams, and grey water from roofs and sinks are all sustainable sources.