Pasadena Water & Power

The Homeowner’s Guide to Efficient Irrigation

  sprinkler efficient 

Over 50% of home water use is used for irrigation, and landscapes are often over-watered due to inefficient irrigation systems. Here are some water-saving tools and programs that will help ensure your landscape gets the right amount of water it needs to thrive.


Benefits of Efficient Irrigation   

Utilizing an efficient irrigation system to manage your watering needs has many more benefits than just saving water, such as:

  • Increased real estate values
    • The value of your home could be increased by as much as 20% 
  • Reduced water bill 
    • Using the right amount of water to water your plants and eliminating overspray will lower your water bill
  • Healthier Plants
    • Watering less frequently and at a slower rate will allow the water to percolate deeper into the soil and enable plants to grow deeper roots
    • Deeper roots can tolerate longer periods without water
  • Safer Outdoor Environment 
    • Water runoff and overspray make sidewalks slippery and can produce a potential safety hazard
    •  Low-lying ground cover, succulents, or regularly-mown grass in a 100-foot buffer zone can prevent brush fires from reaching your home. 
  • Erosion control
    •  Efficient watering encourages deep plant root growth that will help to control erosion 
  • Environmental contributions 
    •  More oxygen is returned to the environment by trees and plants as they absorb carbon dioxide 


Common Causes of Inefficient Irrigation and How to Fix Them

  • Overspray and misting: Occurs when irrigation system sprays water on adjacent sidewalks, driveways, or fences resulting in runoff and excessive water waste. This is usually caused by improper sprinkler head alignment.  
    • Strategies: 
      • Convert the spray system to drip irrigation, if your landscape is composed of individual plants, such as shrubs, rather than continuous groundcover like turf;  
      • Re-landscape with individual plants and convert the spray system to drip irrigation; 
      • Replace the plant material with a permeable groundcover such as decomposed granite that will not require irrigation; 
      • Install a buffer strip of permeable groundcover such as decomposed granite between the plant material and the hardscape and move the sprinkler heads inward 18 inches to the edge of the planting bed. (See drawing below)  


  • Overwatering and Runoff: Applying more water than necessary for healthy plant material. This can create "run-off", which occurs when water flows onto adjacent sidewalks or gutters.  
    • Strategy: Water slowly for short periods of time, allowing for deeper soil saturation. 
  • Watering during the wrong time of day: Watering during the mid-afternoon causes more water loss due to sunlight and evaporation. 
    • Strategy: Water before 9 a.m. when there is less wind.
  •  Leaks: Any break or rupture in the irrigation system’s pipes or sprinkler heads causing water loss.
    • Strategy: Run your system to check for any leaks or breaks and have them fixed within 48 hours.

Free Landscape Surveys

Did you know that PWP water customers can receive a free landscape survey?  The survey will include landscape design; plant selection and plant water needs; irrigation system evaluation; opportunities for drip and micro spray systems; and suggested tree species.   

To sign-up for a landscape survey please call us at 626.744.7311.   

Turf Removal Program

When paired with the efficient irrigation techniques described above, drought-tolerant landscapes can drastically reduce your household water consumption. PWP's Drought Tolerant Landscapes page provides you with rebates and resources to help you transform your turf into water-efficient and California-friendly landscapes. 

Water Use Calculator

The Watering Calculator tool can help you determine the right amount of water you will need for your landscape or garden.  


PWP Workshops

PWP offers a variety of FREE workshops to help you conserve water. For workshop information, visit our Workshops page.  

Water Usage Gauge