Vol 117 (2004): Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society
Ornamental, Garden & Landscape

Landscape irrigation evaluation as a water conservation practice

Janet Bargar
University of Florida
Published December 1, 2004
  • consumptive use permit,
  • florida yards and neighborhoods,
  • irrigation water management,
  • mobile irrigation lab,
  • water management districts


In 2001, Indian River County's Orchid Island Golf and Beach Resort was unable to continue new home construction because its irrigation water use exceeded their consumptive use permit. An evaluation of its irrigation systems and landscapes was conducted by a team of the local USDA/NRCS Mobile Irrigation Lab technician and UF/IFAS County Extension Agents. The analysis revealed that time clocks were set at initial landscape installation rates, and irrigation systems had continued to operate at these levels for several years. Recommendations were developed for this community that included the use of the following key irrigation practices: calibrating irrigation equipment, correcting distribution problems, cleaning and adjusting sprinkler heads, and installing or repairing automatic rainfall shut-off devices. Recommendations were implemented during the late spring high water demand period, and resulted in a 57% drop in annual water use. Presentations were made to the property owners and landscapers. A follow-up of practice adoption and water consumption rates shows that an on-going community education program is necessary to impact water conservation.