Home > Pumps & Filters > Irrigation Pumps And Alternative Water Sources

Where Does Your Irrigation Pump Water Come From?

What source of water will you use in your irrigation system? Most homeowners will use the water supply for their home. In most areas, water cost is based on usage. Some states have specific restrictions concerning water usage. Certain communities have restrictions on how long and when water may be used for irrigation. Furthermore, your provider may charge sewer fees for water you use for landscaping even though the water didn’t enter the sewer system. Many people have begun to tap into alternative sources of water to irrigate their landscape.

Alternate Water Sources

You can use wells, ponds, rainwater catching systems, and grey water (which includes bathing, dishes, and laundry water) to supplement your municipal supply. Ponds and wells are very simple to set up. Rainwater catching devices are little more in-depth and by far the most involved is converting grey water into a viable irrigation water source.

Seeking an alternative water source to suit your irrigation needs will require the assistance of a master plumber or irrigation contractor to be installed safely. Using the correct pump for the job is also crucial and will require assistance from a pump dealer. The pressure, size, and type of pump are extremely important factors and will depend upon your irrigation plan. It’s best to bring a copy of your plan to a pump specialist for assistance or consult an irrigation contractor for a recommendation. The two main types of pumps for this are deep-well and shallow-well.

Deep-Well Pumps

The most common type of deep well pumps are jet pumps. The pump is self-contained and can be dropped into a well that is 75 feet deep or more using a power cord and a water line. There may be a separate tether that comes up out of the well also. This type of pump is practically silent because it operates underwater. You may appreciate how quiet the pump runs when your sprinkler system comes on during the early morning hours.

Shallow-Well Pumps

A shallow-well jet pump works the same way as a deep-well pump but is for shallow or surface water. This type of pump is also quiet when operating. Another type of pump for shallow water is a suction pump. It is not as quiet as a jet pump. A suction pump sits at ground level and uses a hose to draw up the water. This type of pump is portable and easily serviced.

If you’re using a pump solely for your sprinkler system you may not need a separate holding tank. It is crucial that the pump meets the pressure and flow of your irrigation plan. Do not buy a pump until you have completed your plan. You must use some sort of backflow prevention, especially if you plan on using non-potable water. Contact the proper municipality to determine what the backflow requirements are in your area.


Example of how alternate water sources, rain barrel at end of gutter.

Ponds are an excellent source of water for an irrigation system. If you want to utilize a pond or any type of surface water you will need a special pump to get the water to your irrigation system at the right pressure. One type of pump you can use is a shallow-well pump. Consult a pump specialist for help to determine which pump will best suit your needs.


Example of how alternate water sources, rain barrel at end of gutter.

You can use rainwater to supplement your source of water for your sprinkler system. The simplest system collects runoff from your home’s gutters and redirects the rainwater into a sealed holding tank. Diverters can be installed to direct the water back into the storm drains when the tank becomes full.

“Sweepers” keep twigs, leaves, and debris out of the tank. The sweeper will flush the first several gallons of water back into the storm drains. The rest of the water collects to be used later when needed.

Rainwater collection requires a pump to pressurize and move the water into your sprinkler system. Backflow prevention will be necessary if you are supplementing with your homes water supply. Even if this will be your sole source of water you must check with your local municipalities in regards to codes for installing a backflow preventer in some jurisdiction it will still be required.


Example of how alternate water sources, rain barrel at end of gutter.

Greywater, also known as sullage, is non-industrial wastewater that has been generated from dishwashing, laundry, and bathing. Blackwater refers to water that contains sewage or toxic chemicals. White water is from groundwater or potable ” drinkable” water.

Grey water can be an alternative water source in your irrigation system. However it takes a lot of work, effort, and money to use grey water to irrigate your landscape. Some communities are now supplying treated grey water through a separate delivery system to be used solely for landscape irrigation. To reclaim you grey water without municipal assistance requires major replumbing and constant attention to any potentially hazardous material being poured down the drains.