How do I know if my sprinklers are wasting water?

Most homeowners catch indoor leaks quickly, but outdoor leaks and problems can be harder to find, especially with your irrigation system. Performing irrigation troubleshooting checks to determine if you have a leak or malfunctioning system can help you conserve water and save money. Irrigation systems should be checked and fixed on a regular basis. We recommend you visually inspect your sprinkler system once a month and have it checked by an irrigation specialist at least once a year. Here's what to look for: 

Irrigation Controller 

Look at the controller is to make sure the programming is reasonable. Sometimes an irrigation controller loses its programming due to loss of power, and goes on default, which may be the totally wrong schedule for your lawn.  Routinely checking your controller’s programming and time clock can ensure you are watering at the appropriate time of day, times per week and for the a reasonable amount of time.

Sprinkler Valves 

Locate and check each of your valve boxes. Are they flooded or dry? They should be dry. If they’re wet, and it hasn’t been raining, check them carefully for worn parts, loose wiring, or water leaking out between fittings. 

Sprinkler Stations 

Turn the stations on one by one and look for these indications of wasted water:

  • Water geysers – which indicate broken or missing sprayheads.
  • Water spurts in the space between sprinkler heads – indicating a broken pipe (lateral line) that has already blown out the soil above it.
  • Flooded areas between sprinklers – can indicate a slow, steady leak in a lateral line underground. You will have to dig down to find the actual spot.
  • Spurts of water at the base of a sprinkler – indicating a broken seal where the nozzle or riser meets the supply line beneath.
  • Floods around the base of a sprinkler – grass may need to be cut shorter or a short riser replaced with a taller one. Also, could be an old valve that is not shutting off properly. 
  • Misaligned sprayhead – shoots water into a nearby obstruction or over the sidewalk or driveway, instead of grass. The sprayhead needs to be realigned. 

Keep in mind, if there are any breaks or loose fittings underground, the water loss may not be visible. Because water naturally flows in a path of least resistance and gravity pulls it down, many underground leaks do not appear on the surface of the ground. If your water usage has been unusually high, and you suspect an underground irrigation leak, consult an irrigation specialist. 

Visit to find a DIY video library of common sprinkler repairs. 

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1. How do I activate water service?
2. Do you estimate my bill? I can tell no one has raised the lid on my meter box.
3. Why is my bill so high?
4. How much water does my sprinkler system use? 
5. How do I know if my sprinklers are wasting water?
6. How do I check for a water leak?
7. Will the City credit my bill if I have a leak?
8. Can I get a discount when I fill my swimming pool?
9. How do I calculate the cost to fill my swimming pool?
10. Why is the billing date different each month?
11. Where can I pay my bill?
12. Is there a charge to pay my bill with a credit or debit card?
13. Can I sign up to have my bill automatically debited from my credit card?
14. Can I pick the date that my account is to be drafted?
15. Will the City accept a temporary check as payment of the bill?
16. Why is my bill forwarded each month?
17. My water has a milky or cloudy appearance, is it drinkable?
18. My water has a different odor and taste, is it drinkable?
19. Will the City provide trash containers?