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In this article

  • How to check if your garden is waterwise
  • How much water is my irrigation system using?
  • Take the catch cup test to adjust your irrigation controller

Checking your irrigation system regularly ensures your plants and your lawn are getting the most out of your watering, without wasting valuable water.

Is my irrigation system applying water correctly?

Water from your irrigation system can be wasted in many ways including evaporation, leaks, wind drift, watering for too long and watering where it's not needed. By setting up your irrigation to provide water to your garden evenly and efficiently, you’ll be giving your garden just what it needs.

Setting your sprinklers to run for the right amount of time (run times) based on your sprinkler type is the best place to start. Take it a step further by doing a catch cup test to figure out the application rate of your irrigation system. The test will show you how evenly water is being applied to your garden and may uncover potential water savings.

Test your sprinkler application rate with a catch cup test

As a general rule, your garden only needs 10mm of water on each of your watering days.

A catch cup test is an easy way to check that your run times are set up to supply 10mm of water to your garden, and that water is evenly distributed. Catch cups are designed to catch and measure the amount of water falling in an area over a set period of time. You can purchase catch cups or make your own using plastic containers marked up with 1-10mm on the side.

Illustration of a catch cup with measurements

Step 1

Spread the catch cups or containers evenly around the watering zone you want to test. Make sure they’re at least 1 metre away from the closest sprinkler.

Illustration of catch cups on lawn

Step 2

Turn your sprinklers on and time how long it takes to fill the catch cups to a depth of 10mm.

Step 3

Once you have your reading, adjust the run time on your irrigation controller based on how long it took to fill the cups up to 10mm.

You can get catch cups from any waterwise irrigation design shop. Contact your local waterwise garden irrigator or visit your local design shop to learn more.

Need more assistance?

Watch the video below for a more assisted guide on testing the efficiency of your irrigation system.

Read a transcript of this video

Uneven results?

If you find a big difference in the amount of water collected by the catch cups, then your sprinkler system may need a tune up or you might have the wrong sprinkler types for your garden. You can get expert help by contacting a waterwise garden irrigator or visit your nearest waterwise irrigation design shop.

Once you’ve fixed the faults, run the test again to ensure your irrigation system is working efficiently.

Waterwise product advice

Waterwise products can help you reduce the amount of water you use in your garden. With support from Smart Approved WaterMark, we have developed an endorsement program. The program provides an opportunity for approved products to feature the waterwise logo on their packaging, making it easy for you to find water efficient products for your garden.

Find waterwise sprinklers