CONSERVE WATER GEORGIA
Drip Irrigation and Soaker Hoses
Drip irrigation is a highly efficient irrigation system that slowly waters the soil directly around the base of individual plants through small flexible pipes and emitters. This minimizes evaporative losses, pooling, runoff and wetting of plant foliage. Drip irrigation may be part of a larger automated irrigation system or may operate as a standalone system connected to a typical outdoor faucet.
According to the Alliance for Water Efficiency, drip irrigation is arguably the most efficient method of watering. While the efficiency of traditional sprayhead or sprinkler irrigation system is typically only about 50 percent and rarely exceeds 70 percent, the efficiency of a well-designed and operated drip irrigation system can reach nearly 100 percent!
Soaker hoses are a less expensive alternative to drip irrigation that are also much more efficient than traditional sprayhead or sprinkler irrigation systems. Soaker hoses are connected to a typical outdoor faucet and also deliver water slowly and directly to the soil around the base of individual plants.
The Saving Water Partnership reports that, when used correctly, soaker hose can help maintain your landscape without wasting water. Remember these tips when considering where and when to use a soaker hose:
- Find the right site – soaker hoses are best in garden beds.
- Start at the faucet – always connect a backflow preventer and timer to the faucet.
- Too long is wrong – don’t use more than 100 feet of soaker hose.
- Keep it level – for uniform water delivery, place soaker on level ground
- Use correct spacing – don’t put lines too close together or too close to the base of the plant.
- Slow the flow – turn on faucet so hose seeps, but does not spray.
Resources to Help You With Drip Irrigation and Soaker Hoses
Best Management Practices for Landscape Irrigation System Water Conservation - Georgia Extension Service
Introduction to Drip Irrigation - Alliance for Water Efficiency
Benefits and Tips on Soaker Hoses –Savingwater.org
Instructions on Installing Drip and Soaker Irrigation Systems:
A Guide to Micro-Irrigation for West-Central Florida Landscapes –Tampa Bay Water