Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

The Water Usage of Lawn Sprinklers

Park Sprinkler image by Gary Ng from Fotolia.com

In-ground lawn sprinklers are designed to keep plants and grass looking green and healthy throughout the year. Sprinklers may be seen more frequently in dryer areas, such as southern and desert states, where natural rainfall is low. Many people may be unaware of certain facts concerning sprinklers---such as the amount of water sprinklers use in a short period of time.

Types

Watering by hose and watering by in-ground sprinklers produce different results and use different amounts of water. Hose watering may or may not involve an attachment such as a sprinkler or a sprayer, or may refer to the use of a drip or soaker hose. In-ground sprinklers and garden hose sprinklers alike may deliver a rotating spray of water or a continuous spray from one position.

Daily Usage

A sprinkler head may use 15 gallons of water per minute. Most lawns require at least 30 minutes of watering at a time. This means that even for just one sprinkler head, 450 gallons of water are used each time the sprinkler is on for 30 minutes. A hose sprinkler uses between 315 and 930 gallons per every half hour of operation, depending on the size of the hose. If you have five sprinkler stations and run the sprinklers twice a week, you will use 4,500 gallons of water a week. The same length of time watering with a hose will use between 3,150 and 9,300 gallons per week.

  • Watering by hose and watering by in-ground sprinklers produce different results and use different amounts of water.
  • A sprinkler head may use 15 gallons of water per minute.

Efficiency

Most sprinkler systems are only about 60 percent efficient. Runoff from too much water soaking into the soil at once or hitting trees and sidewalks, along with evaporation reduce the efficiency of sprinklers. That means that of the potential 9,000 gallons of water per week, up to 3,600 gallons will be completely wasted. Hand-held sprinklers reduce the waste because the spray can be directed where it is needed.

Drawbacks

There are many drawbacks to sprinkler systems. Aside from the issue of using so much water and the potential water waste, there is also the cost of operating sprinklers. A bill for the use of 9,000 gallons might exceed $200 per month, an expense that many families cannot afford.

  • Most sprinkler systems are only about 60 percent efficient.
  • Runoff from too much water soaking into the soil at once or hitting trees and sidewalks, along with evaporation reduce the efficiency of sprinklers.

Considerations

It is important to determine if having a green lawn all summer long is important enough to justify the waste and cost that sprinkler systems will cause. Consider watering plants but not watering the grass, or consider watering only during weeks in which no rain falls. Most plants can survive off of 1 or 2 inches of water per week. Install a rain gauge to know when to water.

Related Articles

How to Stop Theft from Outdoor Water Spigots
How to Stop Theft from Outdoor Water Spigots
Parts of a Garden Hose
Parts of a Garden Hose
History of Sprinkler Systems
History of Sprinkler Systems
Treflan for Vegetable Gardens
Treflan for Vegetable Gardens
Water Usage of a Garden Hose
Water Usage of a Garden Hose
Weed & Feed Tips
Weed & Feed Tips
How to Make Grass Grow Thicker
How to Make Grass Grow Thicker
How to Use Polaris Pool Cleaner
How to Use Polaris Pool Cleaner
How to Kill Stickers in Your Yard
How to Kill Stickers in Your Yard
Instructions for a Rain Bird ESP 12-LX Plus
Instructions for a Rain Bird ESP 12-LX Plus
How to Use Whey for Watering Plants
How to Use Whey for Watering Plants
Rain Bird vs. Toro Sprinkler Heads
Rain Bird vs. Toro Sprinkler Heads
Information on Using Pond Water for Plants
Information on Using Pond Water for Plants
How to Troubleshoot a Toro Sprinkler Timer
How to Troubleshoot a Toro Sprinkler Timer
What to Check for When One Sprinkler Stays on All the Time
What to Check for When One Sprinkler Stays on All the...
How to Repel Dogs From Your Lawn
How to Repel Dogs From Your Lawn
Garden Guides
×