Conserving water protects river flows during the hottest months and lowest flows of the year. Our trout depend on us to provide cold, clean water year round to thrive. Our economy depends on a healthy and resilient aquifer for safe-drinking water, growing crops, riparian habitat and future growth.

How to Conduct Your Own Irrigation Assessment

1. Understand your lawn’s water needs:

  • If a screwdriver can be easily inserted 3 to 4 inches into the ground right before or just after irrigating, you don’t need to water.

  • Water when footprints or mower tracks become clearly visible and remain for 20 minutes or more, or when the lawn takes on a bluish-gray color.

2. Ensure that your sprinkler heads deliver the right amount of water to each zone. Too little water in one area requires over-watering other areas to compensate. Link to irrigation delivery

3. Make sure your sprinkler heads are level, not pointing up and losing water to evaporation.

4. Use all spray heads or all rotor heads (the two cannot mix and match.) Set every type of sprinkler head to correspond with the pressure on the zone.

4. Invest in a rain freeze sensor that has a smart controller to ensure that your uniformity (sprinkler heads, distribution, and pressure) is efficient.

Water Conservation Options

  • Water between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. to avoid the losses of evaporation and transpiration.
  • Water your soil appropriately. Usually this means deeply and every other day.
  • Train your Roots. Deeper roots provide greater tolerance to hot and dry conditions.  (Link to PDF on How to Grow Your Roots)
  • Let grass grow to 3 inches. This length reduces water, herbicide and fertilizer needs.
  • Install rain sensors that automatically turn off irrigation during rainstorms and freezing temperatures.
  • Use drip irrigation when possible to reduce evaporative water loss and increase efficiency.


Using drought-tolerant and native plants saves water and helps protect the Big Wood River. Next year, when our yard is fully established, most of it will need watering just every two weeks.

John and Daralene Finnell, Hailey

Native vegetation is beautiful and easy to maintain

For Award Winning information on irrigation technology, audits, studies Irrigation and water conservation visit Northern Water Organization