Dealing with water restrictions

I picked up a 1st generation IRO yesterday during the Amazon Prime Day sale (good timing on my part, these things were only around for a few minutes before selling out!) and had a few general questions about getting the best possible setup despite water restrictions. I’m living in North Texas where we get are allowed to water 2x per week (Monday and Thursday). We are never allowed to water between 10am and 6pm. What would be my best bet with programming, I like the idea of a flex schedule however I’m not sure it makes sense for me with the restrictions. Would I be better going with a fixed schedule? I really want to take advantage of some of the more intelligent features of the IRO and that seems somewhat stunted by the restrictions. For those of you in a similar situation, what did you do.

My system has 5 zones.

Even though I have a gen 2, I share the same situation. I WANT to use the flex schedule but have to use the fixed because the flexible schedule only allows for a ‘Start’ time and does not provide a ‘stop’ time option. If sprinklers engage between 12-5pm, we get a hefty fine.

If you start early enough, then you may be fine. The watering time will not change day-to-day unless you alter any of the zone settings. So if you know all of your zones take 4 hours to water, just make sure to set a start time to end before your restriction and of course your days and you’re golden.

Thanks for the response, but I have to ask…Do you ‘know’ this or are you making an assumption?

I could also guess that would be the case but what if rachio decides to split the water shifts so it waters once in the morning and then once in the late noon? I need clarity before running the flex schedule (or someone to pony up the fine if it’s wrong😉)


Good question. With those limited restrictions a flexible daily schedule might not be the best option.

If you use a fixed day schedule with all of the weather intelligence options enabled (seasonal shift, rain skip, climate skip) you will still be able to take advantage of a lot of the features our controller provides.

Here is some more information in regards to those features:

If you want to tryout using flexible daily schedules they do support daily (i.e. Mon/Thu) restrictions. I suggest using flex daily on one zone to see how it performs.

Here is a lot more information on flex daily schedules:

We are re-building our calendaring infrastructure to support features like water before a certain time, multiple start times, and a lot more scheduling flexibility.

Hope this helps.


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I know the water conservation programs very well in the Dallas area. It’s my opinion you should go with the flex schedule and start your irrigation about 1 am in the morning. Wind speeds are lowest at that time and you’ll definitely be completed with watering well before 10 am. Others will say to go with a fixed schedule with monthly run times sent by Rachio. In this scenario you lose so many of the benefits. I am in Oklahoma City and have 6 zones. I find on my even watering day that typically only three or four of my zones run. When we had 2 inches of rainfall last week, nothing ran for several days except my fescue in my shady backyard. Give the flex a try. You probably have gumbo clay if you are in the Frisco area.

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The system will not decide to water at random times. It will start the water at the time you set it to start. And the schedule will show you how long it will water and if there are any cycles in between.

My first schedule that I ran with my Rachio, it split watering shifts to allow water to soak in…so I know it’s possible/happens.

Edit: I read the event history and it states it used two ‘cycles’.

That is why I suggest a start time at 1 am. I’ve never had sprinklers come on during the middle of the day. It would not make any sense for that.

Franz, have people had poor results with the flex schedule in the Dallas/north Texas area. I guess I need to look at the fixed schedule reasoning under that scenario. With fixed schedule how often are schedule adjustments made?

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@robertokc I don’t have any data for/against in that area. It wouldn’t hurt to try one zone in a flex daily schedule for awhile and compare it against a fixed schedule.

It does sound like even given your restrictions flex daily seems to be working well.

Maybe I should just step away and let users that have real world experience step in with their results.


The 2 cycles are still used in the same session.

Meaning it will water zone 1, then zone 2, then could pause to let water soak, then do a second cycle of zone 1 and then zone 2. If there is a third zone, the pause would be shorter (on non-existent): 1-2-3-rest-1-2-3 [2 cycles]

I guess it is possible if you have a lot of zones with certain setups (soil, plants) with extremely long water times that a watering of all 12 zones could run into 10 am, but unlikely.

Rachio won’t water zone 1 a bit, take a nap, then come back later in the afternoon to do zone 2.

Got it, thank you👍🏼

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Question: How hard would it be to add a water window function into the app? In other words only allow watering between certain hours. If a watering schedule - fixed or flex - could not complete watering within those restrictions, perhaps give an alert, too. I think this would helpful for those under time of day restrictions, too.


We are rebuilding our calendaring functionality to support this type of feature and many, many others.

Will take considerable time, but know we are spending large amount of development resources to rebuild our underlying platform to have the most flexible scheduling in the industry.



We appreciate you, Franz. Looking forward to future updates. I won’t need to buy a new unit for this?

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I live in OKC and installed Racio gen 2 yesterday. I want to use the daily flex but am restricted to only odd day watering. Can flex daily be set for odd days? When I Ryan to drop the menu from “any day” the app closes.

I live in Oklahoma City, too. Yes, the controller can be set for odd even. Under edit schedule on the main page, you simply select odd or even. I think you wilk really like this product.

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