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Because plants have different watering needs than grass, your irrigation clock should allow different settings for drip and sprinkler stations.

Drip irrigation is truly beneficial to plants in desert environments. Drip systems should run longer than sprinkler systems because they deliver water more slowly. Determine the amount of time to water based on the rate of flow of your drip emitters, the types of plants you are watering and the condition of the soil.

Rate of Flow

To find out how fast your drip emitter produces water, measure how many seconds it takes to fill a tablespoon:

  • 14 seconds equals 1 gallon per hour (gph)
  • 7 seconds equals 2 gph
  • 4 seconds equals 4 gph

How Much to Water

Drip irrigation is usually needed less frequently than sprinkler irrigation. The following frequency should provide most plants with sufficient water:

  • 1 day per week or less during the winter
  • 2 days per week during spring and fall
  • 3 days per week during the summer


Common Drip Emitters
Emitter Type Length of Watering
High-flow emitter (up to 20 gph) 12 minutes each watering
Low-flow emitter (up to 4 gph) 30 minutes each watering
Low-flow emitter (up to 2 gph) 60 minutes each watering
Low-flow emitter (up to 1 gph) 90 minutes each watering


Check your drip line periodically for breaks and check emitters for clogs or heads that have broken off. Ensure that each emitter is releasing the proper amount of water.

Flush the drip irrigation lines and filters every time you change your irrigation schedule or at least twice a year. Find the "end cap" on your drip line. This should be at the furthest point from your valve box. Open the cap and briefly run the system to flush out any debris that could be clogging your line. Turn off the water before trying to recap your line.

Conservation information provided by: Las Vegas Water District