Making money performing water audits

Do you get asked about the irrigation (sprinkler) system by your client? Do you disclaim it as being beyond the scope? Could you make money performing them as an ancillary inspection?

Approximately 50% of residential water use nationwide is for irrigating landscaping. For that reason it’s a good area to explore in trying to conserve water.
In performing a water audit, inspectors examine the irrigation system and make recommendations.

Would this fly in your area?

Down here, most residential homes have a sprinkler system. We just include them with the price. There are, of course, those inspectors that disclaim them.

It’s really nothing complicated. I just turn on all zones, check to make sure each drip/sprinkler head is working properly and not shooting off like a geyser and turn it back to auto timer. Done.

I perform them as an extra service from $25 to $50 depending on size of system. Most run about $30.


In Texas we can inspect an irrigation system at a residential structure and point out defects found. However, if I am understanding your question, you are suggesting an audit of the system with recommendations for improvements to the system ( your comment about a “water audit” and “make recommendations”). That specifically falls under the domain of the Texas Commission On Environmental Quality, Landscape Irrigation License ( see ).

There are exceptions to this licensing requirement as stated on the URL referenced but in our case would require another license such as a plumber, etc.

It is interesting to note also that TCEQ also handles licensing for Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester’s which is a license required to test the backflow assemblies on the sprinkler system ( see ). There are AHJ’s here that are requiring annual testing and certification of sprinkler system backflow prevention devices and also when the property is under contract for sale.

So as a licensed Inspector, without other necessary credentials, we can only inspect the sprinkler system and note defects found.

Yes, what I’m running into is people and organizations suggesting that audits be done in order to make recommendation which would conserve water.


We are coming out of a 2+ year drought here. During that time many local jurisdictions imposed mandatory watering restrictions, uses, etc. Failure to abide resulted in heavy fines in some cases. During that period it could have been a very good source of income if the length of the drought could have been forseen. Unfortunately here when there is no drought, restrictions, etc., most homeowners and business’ just don’t care if they are heavily using water until they start to feel the money pinch.

If CO laws do not prevent you from doing that type of consulting then it could be a good add on service and marketing tool for your business. You may even be able to package a variety of services together and bill it as a home tune-up or “money saver” package. If nothing else then it can add another service to a long list of services to show you are a diversified individual. Never know what other opportunities it could lead to.

On another note Texas is “License Crazy”. It won’t be long before they license who can sell underwear and what brand and require a license for it!! :mrgreen: Texas’ problem is they create a lot of laws and licenses under the guise of consumer protection but then don’t enforce them.


As Manny said TX has sop

(1) operate all zones or stations on the system manually;
(2) report as in need of repair deficiencies in water flow or pressure at the circuit heads;
(3) report as in need of repair surface water leaks, the absence or improper installation of anti-siphon valves and backflow preventers or the absence of shut-off valves;
(4) inspect and report as in need of repair deficiencies in the condition and mounting of the control box and visible wiring; and
(5) report as in need of repair deficiencies in the operation of each zone and associated valves, spray head patterns and areas of non-coverage within the zone.
(g) Specific limitations for lawn and garden sprinkler system. The inspector is not required to inspect the automatic function of the timer or control box, the rain sensor or the effectiveness and sizing of anti-siphon valves or backflow preventers.

Here is one statement that I have for irrigation systems:

How to Conserve Water Outdoors:
Use the principles of xeriscape (quality landscaping that conserves water and prevents water pollution) in your yard.
Plant native, drought-tolerant or adapted plants in your yard.
Water only in the morning, when evaporation rates are at their lowest.
Use sprinklers that throw big drops of water close to the ground. Smaller drops and mist often evaporate before they hit the ground.
Water only when your landscaping or lawn begins to show signs of stress – when it begins to wilt or discolor or when footprints are visible after you’ve walked on it.
When you do water, water deeply and infrequently to promote good root growth and healthy plants.
Use a broom to wash your driveway – not a hose.
Don’t water the walls, windows, doors, AC equipment, pavements or fencing. These systems do not require irrigation and may be adversely affected by this continued exposure.
Consult an irrigation specialist about conversion of the spray heads within 18” of the structure walls, windows, AC equipment, pavements or fencing that receive water impact during operation.
Remember that in this general location even foundation moisture should supersede all other irrigation considerations.

National Resources Conservation Service
Water supply forecasts for the U.S., including streamflow, reservoir, surface water, snowpack, precipitation, temperature and information on how to interpret the data.

Good one Barry, do you put this in all reports?