Irrigation Systems Benefits and Costs
If you currently manually irrigate and you are considering installing an automatic irrigation system you can expect that your water bills will go up. Recent studies of homes with and without automatic sprinkler systems show that homes with automatic systems use substantially more water outdoors on average (Maddaus and Mayer, 2001). Automatic irrigation systems, if not properly managed, can waste a lot of water. Always be mindful that YOU are the “brains” behind your irrigation system scheduling and YOU control the controller.
The benefits of an automatic irrigation system include reduced labor for watering, convenience, full landscape coverage, the ability to control irrigation timing, and added value to your home.
The costs of an automatic irrigation system include installation costs (starting at about $1,000 for a small yard and moving up from there), water costs, maintenance costs (shutdown and startup and annual repairs), and increased landscape maintenance (you may be mowing more often).
You can minimize costs by carefully designing a system that meets the specific needs of your landscape, programming your clock properly, adjusting the program frequently in response to changes in the weather, installing a rain shutoff device or soil moisture sensor, and maintaining your system.
Cost Benefit Analysis
It is possible to quantify the costs of an automatic irrigation system, but quantifying the benefits is quite difficult. This makes a traditional cost benefit analysis virtually impossible. If you are considering installing an automatic sprinkler system you will have to weigh the costs and benefits for yourself. If you already have an automatic irrigation system, you can maximize the benefits and minimize costs and operating the system as efficiently as possible.
Here are a some tips for reducing the cost of operating and maintaining an automatic irrigation system: