Smart irrigation means much more than just a new sprinkler controller that you can operate from your phone. Most new smart controllers operate irrigation systems based on the ET rate, providing only the water needed based on the weather. In order for your smart technology to truly save you water and money, your irrigation system needs to be worthy of such advanced controls. If you have a broken nozzle or a misaligned sprinkler head, you will still be wasting water and have dry spots in your lawn no matter how fancy your irrigation controller is.
To have an efficient irrigation system you don’t necessarily have to have a smart controller. Efficient irrigation is described as the ratio between the water applied to the effective area and the total amount of water applied. So, basically what that means is that if you are watering your sidewalk along with your lawn, your efficiency is lower than if you were watering just your lawn. Along with overspraying onto the sidewalk and driveway, other common irrigation inefficiencies are sunken and tilted sprinkler heads, clogged and broken nozzles, and spray patterns not aimed towards the target area. All of these affect the sprinkler’s ability to apply water evenly to your landscape. To make your irrigation system as efficient as possible without a fancy new controller, follow these steps:
- Inspect nozzles and nozzles screens to ensure they are free of debris
- Adjust sprinklers to hit target area
- Make sure sprinklers are perpendicular to the slope they are watering
- Ensure overgrown foliage and other plant material is not blocking sprinkler spray patterns
- Inspect and repair pipes for leaks and breaks
- Inspect and clear filters throughout system
And, remember, proper hydraulic design, installation, and maintenance are significantly more important to an irrigation system than any individual products used in that system.