While some of our communities are blessed with an ample supply of groundwater, the amount is finite and should not be wasted.
A good irrigation system delivers the proper amount of water to plants when they need it, minimize losses due to evaporation or run-off, run reliably, and apply water consistently and uniformly.
Our goal on this page is not to tell you what you should be growing, but do keep in mind that plants adapted for dry environments will be more likely to survive in the event of an irrigation problem or future water shut off.
As a very general rule large uniform areas such as lawns are best watered using sprinklers. Mixed planting areas are usually best watered by drip irrigation. Trees may be watered by filling a basin, drip irrigation, or by using sprinklers that provide water to the area the trees are planted in.
Please note our program cannot recommend maintenance or installation providers. We may be able to advise you on better irrigation practices for your yard. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Hopefully the resources on this page will be helpful!
The following resources will help you to plan irrigation in your yard.
Any gardening experience you may have from other areas, especially along the coast, may not apply here. Keep a close eye on your plants and adjust water as needed.
General Irrigation Resources
- Owens Valley Irrigation Rules of Thumb This document is a good place to start with local irrigation needs.
- Bishop, CA Water Needs Estimates (CIMIS Data) Typical water use in inches by month; compiled from CIMIS data.
- Drought Management in Desert Landscapes 10 tips from the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension.
- Mammoth Lakes' Irrigation Schedule Other useful irrigation information pertaining to TOML is on this page.
- Irrigation 101 Course Free online course on udemy.com (2 hours)
- Water-Smart Landscapes guide from EPA.
- Water Use Classification of Landscape Species (WUCOLS IV) Use this site to get an estimate of water use of various landscape species in California.
- Keeping Plants Alive under Drought or Water Restrictions UC ANR Fact sheet on getting through water shortages.
- Two-Days-a-Week Lawn Watering Guide for Independence and Lone Pine
Turfgrass Irrigation Scheduling
- How to Irrigate Turfgrass - Irrigation guide from UC ANR
- Lawn watering guide for California - This UC guide can help you determine your sprinkler output and how many minutes to water your lawn each week.
- Measuring Distribution Uniformity - Even distribution of water is important in irrgation. Uneven sprinklers require extra water to make up for the dry area. You can measure the DU of your system. This page at UC Davis explains the process and provides some tools.
Drip irrigation is an efficient way to water mixed plantings, gardens, and other landscape plantings.
A great benefit of drip irrigation to homeowners is its simplicity of installation. The flexible tubing used makes it easy to adapt to any changes or unusual circumstances.
Below are four good resources for learning more about irrigation.
- All about drip irrigation Excellent webpage by UC Cooperative Extension Sonoma County
- Drip irrigation system design and installation Utah State University
- Tree Ring Irrigation Contraption (TRIC) UC Davis' California Center for Urban Horticulture
- Drip Irrigation in the Home Landscape A printed publication by UC ANR that is recommended by Master Gardeners ($7)