We noticed a large amount of water running down the street gutter while working at a jobsite and walked up the hill to

see the source. The entrance to the neighborhood had the irrigation system running and the number of irrigation heads and choice of nozzles resulted in the massive overspray and water loss. Looking in the photo, you can see 6 of the 7 heads spraying into a very small area. We are not sure why there are 2 heads almost next to each other near the curb. This style of nozzle applies water at quite a high rate.
Here is more info regarding just how much water. This style of nozzle can easily push ~1.4 gallons per minute. With 7 heads in this small area, and a zone running for 10 minutes, a total of just under 100 gallons of water was being applied to this very small area. The other problem is that the volume is being applied so fast that the ground cannot absorb it, so it runs off and down the street. If the irrigation system is not on a regulator and is running at a higher psi, it will be putting out even more gallons in the same time period.
A proper fix would be to remove some of the existing heads and have maybe 4 heads for the entire area, allowing overlap of the heads. Then, the nozzles should be replaced with a different style that will deliver the water at a slower rate. There are nozzles that apply water at ~0.38 gallons per minute. By changing the nozzles, the water will be applied at a rate that the soil can accept more of it with less running off. The only remaining change will be to adjust the run time for the zone to apply a proper amount of water.
We hate to see water wasted in a way that is so easy to remedy.
Improper irrigation. Count the number of heads.

Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?


Join the conversation

2 of 14 comments
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Dec 17, 2011
    In some part of the arid west ...this practice could lead to citations.
  • Charles R Charles R on Dec 17, 2011
    I completely agree with you! Here in Florida, on a daily basis, I see this enormous amount of water waste, daily! The Professional Landscapers are lazy and/or ignorant about other choices. They simply use the easiest and what looks to do the job. Your article above is spot on!