WHAT IS ½" OF WATER? HOW LONG TO I NEED TO RUN MY SPRINKLERS TO GET ½"?

Irrigation is measured in inches - just like rain!

The suggested irrigation application is ½-inch of water (and 5/8-inch in Southern Utah) each irrigation. The only thing you will change is the number of days BETWEEN waterings.

But how do we know how long it will take us to get the desired amount of water on our lawns? Every irrigation system is different, so there is no standard or set amount of time that will get everyone the desired amount of water. However, based on average application rates of different kinds of sprinklers, we find the following information:

Sprinkler Type Minutes to apply ½"
Pop-up Spray Head 21 minutes
Rotor-Type Head 42 minutes

To determine what YOUR SPECIFIC watering times will be, use the following instructions!

  1. In your 4 containers (any straight-sided container, such as a soup can or half-milk carton), measure and mark a ½ inch (or 5/8 inch if you are in Southern Utah) depth.
  2. Turn on your sprinklers and time how long it takes for water to reach the marks in each container. With overlapping sets of sprinklers, split the run time equally between both sets of sprinklers. Figure the average run time for all containers.
  3. If you see water running off your lawn, three or more soak cycles are recommended. Irrigate for three or more cycles allowing 1-hour in between each cycle. This will prevent water from running off the lawn.

Example: If your sprinklers take 21 minutes to apply ½ inch of water, you would use three 7-minute cycles. Run your sprinklers for 7 minutes each cycle and wait one hour in between each cycle.

By following the above suggestions, you will apply the maximum amount of water required by the lawn. You will also use about half of the water the average Utah homeowner uses. This schedule could save you as much as one-fourth of your yearly water usage. Even so, you may still be using more than is necessary.

To use even less water, you will need to make your sprinkler system more efficient or reduce the total number of irrigations you apply during the growing season.

Each unnecessary irrigation that can be eliminated will save enough water for about 104 showers, 52 baths, 52 loads of laundry, or 312 toilet flushes.

Every minute counts!

For additional tips on how to irrigate more efficiently, contact you water supplier, local Utah State University Extension Horticulture Specialist, or one of the following organizations:

Center for Water-Efficient Landscaping
http://www.hort.usu.edu/CWEL
Utah Irrigation Association
http://www.utahia.org
Central Utah Water Conservancy District
http://www.cuwcd.com
Utah Nursery & Landscape Association
http://www.utahgreen.org
Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District
http://www.jvwcd.org
Utah State University Extension
http://www.extension.usu.edu
Salt Lake City Public Utilities
http://www.slch2o.com
Utah Water Conservation Forum
http://www.utahwaterforum.org
US Bureau of Reclamation
http://www.usbr.gov/uc/provo/index.html
Washington County Water Conservancy District
http://wcwcd.state.ut.us/
Utah Division of Water Resources
http://www.conservewater.utah.gov
Weber Basin Water Conservancy District
http://www.weberbasin.com