University of Florida

Smart Irrigation Practices

Did you know 80%–90% of the nation’s ground and surface water is used for agricultural irrigation?

With water demands expected to increase with time, implementing sustainable agricultural practices is vital to conserving water for future use.  

Smart Irrigation Tips

Farmers should consider using the following tips to water more efficiently when irrigating land.

  • Adopt a drip-irrigation system—which allows water to drip near plant roots—to reduce water usage and pest problems and to improve fertilizer efficiency. (Several other types of micro-irrigation systems are available as well.)  
  • Create an irrigation schedule using automatic timers to prevent overwatering and to manage the right amount of watering for each season. 
  • Collect and save rainwater for smaller gardens.
  • Maintain your irrigation system by fixing any leaks, replacing broken sprinkler heads, and pointing sprinklers in the right direction.
  • For irrigation, use reclaimed water rather than using high-quality freshwater. However, be sure to use special management practices so nutrients in the reclaimed water suit your crop or land.  
  • Be sure you are watering at the right time to avoid losing water due to evaporation.
  • Use watershed management practices to maintain water quality.

As water becomes increasingly more valued in upcoming years, it is best to act now and follow smart irrigation practices. For more information on watering more efficiently, contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Office or your local Water Management District.

Adapted and excerpted from:

E. Simonne, R. Hochmuth, J. Breman, W. Lamont, D. Treadwell, and A. Gazula, Drip-irrigation systems for small conventional vegetable farms and organic vegetable farms (HS1144), UF/IFAS Horticultural Sciences Department (rev. 04/2012).

Lawn Care & Irrigation,” UF/IFAS Living Green (Accessed 07/2014).

Economic Research Service Report: Water Conservation in Irrigated Agriculture,” U.S. Department of Agriculture (09/2012).

S. Shukla, Watersheds – Functions and Management (AE265), UF/IFAS Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department (rev. 06/2013).


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