Know How Much You’re Watering

If you’re watering just once a week with an irrigation system, don’t be surprised when your water bill doubles — or triples.

Although we are currently in Stage 1 watering rules, don’t be fooled into thinking your bill will not increase significantly. Even once a week watering could double your water bill.

Don’t believe me? Here’s how. Typical San Antonio irrigation systems use about 1500-2000 gallons per cycle (about 14 gallons per minute/zone x 20 minutes/zone x six zones). At only once a week, monthly water use winds up being about 6,450 gallons to 8,600 gallons (weekly times 4.3 weeks). And that doesn’t include any water being used indoors.

Watering once a week can double your SAWS water bill.

While discretionary hand watering can add more to the bill, the amount of water coming out of the hose and time spent watering the lawn and beds is much less than irrigation systems. So, watering by hand adds a modest amount to the water bill.

To control your water bills, consider these practices.

  • Run your system manually. Only turn your system on when it’s absolutely necessary, or twice a month at most.
  • Irrigate only a portion of your yard once a week. Split your landscape into two or more zones.
  • Use hand watering during the other two weeks or think about going to full hand watering. Save water, money and benefit from the fresh-air therapy.
  • Call 210-704-7283 for a free irrigation consultation. We can find inefficiencies and offer rebates.
  • Visit to learn about landscape changes that can eliminate the need for weekly or monthly irrigation. Remember, less grass equals lower water bills.

Finally, if the drought persists and we don’t get any significant precipitation anytime soon, we could be facing Stage 2 watering rules.

Picture of Mark Peterson
Mark Peterson
Mark A. Peterson was a conservation project coordinator for San Antonio Water System before retiring. With over 30 years of experience as an urban forester and arborist, Mark is probably the only person you know who actually prunes trees for fun. When not expounding on the benefits of trees and limited lawns, you're likely to find him hiking San Antonio's wilderness parks or expounding on the virtues of geography and history to his friends.
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