Efficient and Effective Outdoor Watering is a Key Component of Conservation in the Desert

May 20, 2022

Here in the Valley, most of our water use occurs outdoors and not inside the home. With such a significant amount of our water being used outside, it highlights the importance of being efficient with our outdoor water use, especially during a historic drought, changing climate, and Colorado River shortages.

As our temperatures rise, so does outdoor water use in the Valley. We know the key to maintaining your landscape’s health and beauty is watering correctly, but that can be a challenge in the desert and with escalating heat. It comes down to being efficient and effective with your water use, which is an easy way to save water and money while ensuring your plants get the right amount of water they need to thrive.

People inspecting sprinkler head.

Inspecting your irrigation system is a great place to start.

While we often think that more water is needed, especially with escalating temperatures, but that is not the case especially with desert-adapted landscape. So, what should you do to ensure everything is being watered appropriately and efficiently?

Inspect your irrigation system

Before the weather intensifies for the summer months, be sure to make time for an irrigation check-up. It’s as simple as turning on your irrigation system and walking around to inspect that everything is working correctly. AMWUA’s Smart Home Water Guide can help. It will also help you identify any leaks that need to be fixed before too much water waste happens. The Landscaping with Style website provides additional information on irrigation system maintenance.

Tailor your watering schedule for landscapes in the Sonoran Desert

Nearly all landscape plants need regular irrigation to establish them, and some will need periodic irrigation to keep them healthy. This is due to our climate and sunshine that speed water evaporation from the soil and plants. Once established, desert-adapted plants can survive on rainfall alone with occasional supplemental watering during extended dry periods.

Irrigation Controller and Smart Phone

It’s as simple as texting WHENTOWATER to 33222 to get helpful watering reminders.

Sign up for watering text alerts

Simply text WHENTOWATER to 33222 and receive a text message on the first of each month with a link to that month’s unique watering schedule. This guide reminds you to adjust your settings as the weather changes and gives you precise watering instructions for all your plants. This easily accessible information can help you keep your yard looking its best. This is one more way to help you save water and money.

Landscape Watering by the Numbers Booklet Utilize the Landscape Watering by the Numbers Guide

For more information on outdoor watering, check out this interactive guide created specifically for the Phoenix metro area and its unique conditions. This watering guide walks you through how much and how often to water and how to set your irrigation timer, troubleshoot your system, and other outdoor watering tips.

Evaluate your water use

The amount of water we use every day may surprise you. And how do you know if you are using the right amount of water at home? The AMWUA Water Use Calculator is here to help. Many things impact your household’s unique water use, and this new tool offers additional insight into how you use it throughout your home and in your yard by answering a few simple questions. Based on the answers you select, the calculator estimates how much water you need for optimal monthly water usage based on the specific information.

Being wise with our outdoor water use is essential, regardless of the time of year. A water-efficient landscape will save you time, water, and money. We are fortunate to have access to safe and reliable water supplies every day. Once it arrives at our homes, it’s our responsibility to use it carefully and efficiently because saving water in the desert is everyone’s business. Together we can make a difference.

The AMWUA cities have programs, classes, and rebates to assist you in your efforts to be more water-wise. Additionally, many offer water consultations to help you save water, improve plant health, and reduce your water bill. Learn more HERE.


This blog was originally posted at amwua.org on May 3rd, 2022.  For 50 years, Arizona Municipal Water Users Association has worked to protect our member cities’ ability to provide assured, safe and sustainable water supplies to their communities. For more water information visit www.amwua.org.