Reduce the amount of water your landscape needs with efficient irrigation. Photo: Peggy Choucair/PixabayReduce the amount of water your landscape needs with efficient irrigation. Photo: Peggy Choucair/Pixabay

Irrigation Efficiency Impacts Plant Health and Water Use

Irrigation systems have a lot of interconnected mechanical elements. They must be thoughtfully designed, installed and programmed. Once in place, irrigation systems must be maintained properly for optimal performance.

“Irrigation efficiency” is a way of describing how well your irrigation system is delivering water for the beneficial use of the plants in your landscaping.

Issues that adversely affect the performance of your irrigation system can greatly reduce its efficiency and cause you to use more water than needed. The issues fall in three major categories: site conditions in your landscaping, irrigation control, and the uniform distribution of water by your irrigation system.

Three ways to maximize irrigation impact

There are three ways to improve your irrigation system efficiency by upgrading and continuously maintaining it for maximum efficiency.

• Smart Irrigation Management
• State of the Art System Upgrades
• Matching Irrigation to Your Hydrozones

Intelligent irrigation begins by understanding that “setting and forgetting” your irrigation controller is a thing of the past. Even if you don’t have a “smart” irrigation controller to adjust your program for weather conditions, you should be more proactive in managing your watering, and more closely try to match your watering schedule with the actual water needs of your landscaping.

Upgrading your system with state-of-the-art components is a good investment and the single most significant thing you can do to save water.

Tips on professional help with your irrigation needs

You may decide to get professional help with your irrigation system. Look for designers or contractors qualified to provide these services. Credentials such as the Irrigation Association’s Certified Irrigation Designer designation can help assure your project will be successful. You can also ask if your contractor is a Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (OWEL).


This article was inspired by the 71-page Sustainable Landscapes Program guidebook available at SustainableLandscapesSD.org. The Water Authority and its partners also offer other great resources for landscaping upgrades, including free WaterSmart classes at WaterSmartSD.org.