How Much Water Does a Sprinkler Use?

A pop-up sprinkler uses 15 to 16 gallons of water per minute. If you have 6 zones and water each for 20 minutes twice a week, your system uses 15,360 gallons monthly. An Irrigreen system with those same specs uses 5,760 gallons!

With utility costs rising and water becoming scarce in areas, smart irrigation systems like Irrigreen are key to drastically improving water use in residential landscape irrigation.

What Factors Impact How Much Water A Sprinkler Uses?

There isn’t a hard and fast number of gallons per minute a sprinkler uses. There is an industry average, but the specific amount will depend on the following factors:

  • Type of sprinkler system being used. Smart irrigation systems generally use less water than traditional pop-up systems.
  • Age and condition of the system. New, well-maintained systems will be more efficient and use less water than older systems that may have cracks in the lines or broken heads.
  • Water pressure and flow rate of the source. If there is a lack of water pressure or flow rates are lower, a sprinkler will naturally use less water because it doesn’t have the force from the water source.

Average Water Use Per Minute By Sprinkler Type

Before we look at the big picture, let’s look at water usage per minute.

These numbers are astonishing when you realize your sprinkler system uses that many gallons of water in a minute. It also puts into perspective the efficiency of a smart system like Irrigreen.

How to Calculate Average Use Per Month

Now that we have the average use per minute per sprinkler type, we can calculate how much the types use over a month.

Number of Minutes Run x Number of Stations/Zones = Total Minutes run per cycle
Total Minutes run per cycle x Gallons Per Minute used = Total Gallons used per watering cycle
Total Gallons used per cycle x Number of days per month you water = Total gallons used per month

Let’s do a quick calculation. Say your pop-up sprinkler system has five zones; each zone is set to run for 20 minutes using 16 gallons per minute, and you water twice weekly.

→ 20 minutes x 6 zones = 120 total minutes run in a cycle

→ 120 total minutes x 16 gallons per minute = 1,920 total gallons used per watering cycle

→ 1,920 gallons per cycle x 8 days per month = 15,360 total gallons of water used per month

Monthly Water Usage For Pop-Up and Irrigreen Sprinklers

To get a good look at how much water is used monthly, this chart compares the water usage of a traditional pop-up system and an Irrigreen smart sprinkler system under varying conditions.

Type Zones Frequency 10 minutes 15 minutes 20 minutes
Pop-Up 4 Daily (30 days per month) 19,200 gallons 28,800 gallons 38,400 gallons
(16 GPM)   Every other day (15 days per month) 9,600 14,400 19,200
    Twice a week (8 days per month) 5,120 7,680 10,240
    Once a week (4 days per month) 2,560 3,840 5,120
  5 Daily 24,000 36,000 48,000
    Every other day 12,000 18,000 24,000
    Twice a week 6,400 9,600 12,800
    Once a week 3,200 4,800 6,400
  6 Daily 28,800 43,200 57,600
    Every other day 14,400 21,600 28,800
    Twice a week 7,680 11,520 15,360
    Once a week 3,840 5,760 7,680
Irrigreen 4 Daily (30 days per month) 7,200 10,800 14,400
(6GPM)   Every other day (15 days per month) 3,600 5,400 7,200
    Twice a week (8 days per month) 1,920 2,880 3,840
    Once a week (4 days per month) 960 1,440 1,920
  5 Daily 9,000 13,500 18,000
    Every other day 4,500 6,750 9,000
    Twice a week 2,400 3,600 4,800
    Once a week 1,200 1,800 2,400
  6 Daily 10,800 16,200 21,600
    Every other day 5,400 8,100 10,800
    Twice a week 2,880 4,320 5,760
    Once a week 1,440 2,160 2,880

It’s easy to see how much water Irrigreen saves!


The Importance of Irrigreen Smart Sprinklers

We’ve discussed the benefits of smart sprinkler systems, with their improved water use efficiency as the most important advantage.

Irrigreen systems are much more efficient because they’re built using inkjet printing technology to control water placement. The resulting sprinkler heads are much better than a standard in-ground system or the old-school method of moving a hose around your yard.

The system “prints” water exactly where it’s needed and nowhere else, reducing water usage considerably compared to a traditional sprinkler.

Over the lifespan of a lawn, this water reduction leads to significant water savings!

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