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Lawn Irrigation

Q: How many gallons per minute would a private well need to produce in order to irrigate a small grass area around the house? What would be needed for fire protection?

The Private Water Systems Handbook, developed by Midwest Plan Services, lists flow rate requirements for typical devices. They report that typical lawn sprinkler irrigation systems may require 12-gallons per minute (gpm) to operate properly. They indicate 10 gpm is the minimum for fire protection, with 20 gpm being preferred.

See the complete table below:

Typical flow rate requirements for household water-using devices. MWPS (Midwest Plan Service), Iowa State University, Ames, IA, Used with permission: Jones, D. Private Water Systems Handbook.
Device Typical Flow Rate Required for Operation
Automatic washer 5 gpm
Dishwasher 2 gpm
Garbage disposal 3 gpm
Kitchen sink 3 gpm
Shower or tub 5 gpm
Toilet flush 3 gpm
Bathroom sink 2 gpm
Water softener regeneration 5 gpm
Backwash filters 10 gpm
Outside hose faucet 5 gpm
Outdoor lawn sprinkler system 12 gpm
Fire protection 10 gpm -- preferred 20 gpm
Sharon Skipton
Sharon Skipton
Extension Educator, Retired Water Quality and adjunct Biological Sciences Engineering Faculty Member
Sharon's main areas of interest and research were related to drinking water, onsite wastewater, and healthy homes, with a current emphasis on drinking water system protection as well as water testing, quality, treatment, and conservation.