Exact water usage using flow

I was making sure we didn’t have a major leak on the property using the flow off of our water meter the other day. Then I realized I could calculate the (almost) exact amount of water each zone used per minute to determine how much it costs to run my sprinklers.

If there was a gallons/minute setting (or something similar) that we could set for each zone using our water meter flow rate, this would be much more helpful for approximating water usage instead of the current setting.

This seems like a fairly easy setting to add and would be very useful to many people!

Checking the flow at the meter for each zone when you can turn them on from your phone is pretty awesome :smile:

For those users that didn’t have the meter option, being able to adjust the number of sprinklers in the zone would also probably be more useful than square footage (in my experience at least).

Thanks and LOVE the product!



@basher519 Thanks for the feedback. I agree very useful for people that already know their GPM per zone. An easy override. It’s in our backlog as we have been asked a few times for this. After 2.0 is released in May we will be reviewing the backlog, prioritizing, and adding new features as appropriate.

Thanks again for the feedback, we are listening.


I would like to second this request. It’s easy enough for me to go look at my meter, so I’ve got the data about how much water each zone uses/minute. Would be great to be able to enter this information and have the Rachio track it.


– Tom

P.S - I’ve had mine for a couple of weeks now and I’m a very happy customer.

I hooked mine up yesterday and am impressed thus far. One of the first things I noticed and the reason I looked at the community was this exact issue, I’m putting in a bump for this request as well. That being said I believe I am achieving the same results - I created custom heads for each zone, timed the water meter, and converted GPM to in/HR for the custom heads. The conversion is easy:

Precipitation Rate (in/HR) = (96.25 X Total GPM) / Total Area Being Irrigated

The 96.25 is just conversion factor derived from 60min/HR, 7.48 G/ft^3, and 12in/ft.

Like I said, I hooked it up yesterday so I’m not sure how the lawn will respond but that’s what I did to more accurately measure the water my system is using. Of course the most accurate method would be to measure all over the zone with cups and average them, using total GPM is going to include the water seeping from the heads that doesn’t make it to the lawn and any other losses… It depends if you’re concerned more with total water usage (which I am) or with the total water your grass is actually getting.


Hi @tmr, would you see this as a “meter input” field that you would simply enter a per minute usage on a zone by zone basis?

I’m just trying to better understand your expectations of the feature if/when we can support it.

Thanks, Emil

@emil. Seems like a reasonable approach to me. Might be good to have to at least tenths of a gallon for OCD types like myself :smile:

Thanks @tmr :blush:

@Bullock and @basher519 – what would be your expectations of this feature if/when we could support it?

Best, Emil

Hi @emil - I’d like to see a “measured flowrate” or “meter input” field like you indicated above for each individual zone that can be used by those with visible meters yet doesn’t need to be used (like the system is currently set up) by people who don’t want to get that deep into the weeds. I’d expect to watch my meter for a few minutes per zone and input the observed/measured gallons per minute figure into the Iro for each zone. Rachio must already be calculating estimated water usage using the head type, precipitation rate, irrigation area and watering times to come up with the usage/savings data. As you know sprinkler heads don’t operate nearly as efficiently as they age and it’s easy for a small leak to get past a homeowner, I think you’d get much more accurate usage/savings data using the measured flowrate. Furthermore, if you added the number of heads per zone rather than just the type (another input I think should be there but a different topic) the Iro could compare the measured flowrate with what the ‘standard’ is say for example six new fixed-spray heads. If the estimated flowrate based on what six new ‘standard’ heads would use was significantly off from what the user has input the measured flowrate to be for that zone the Iro could alert the user that something may be wrong (broken/old head, broken pipe, etc…). On that note the definition of “significantly off” would also need to be adjustable by the user like you’ve done with the rain sensitivity…

I appreciate you reaching out and listening. I believe that my workaround posted above achieves the same results with a little more work up front so this isn’t the largest fish to fry IMHO. However, it’s something pretty basic that I think the Iro should include and I was surprised it wasn’t there when I began the set-up. As homes and devices get smarter and tie together I’ll fully expect any ‘smart irrigation controller’ to communicate directly with my water meter…

Have a great day!


I checked my water meter before & after I ran through a watering cycle and measured 1700 gallons of water used where the Rachio shows only about 950 gallons used.

I’ve only had Rachio for a few weeks, so i’m going to try to make custom nozzles now to get the Rachio closer to actual water usage. I think it would be easier to just input the known usage for each zone verses trying to configure custom nozzles to get the same result.

I’m surprised Rachio doesn’t ask about the number of sprinkler heads to get better results. It seems like I would be over watering my lawn and wasting a lot of water if I left it in it’s current state. The Rachio is using almost twice as much water as it thinks.

Thanks, Mitch

1 Like

Hi @Mitch, thanks for reaching out.

At this time, the Iro attempts to estimate the gallons of water used based on the area (square footage) of each zone and the nozzle output. Information on this can be found in our article about Advanced Settings and Custom Nozzles. These settings can be found and edited in each zone attribute.

At this time there is no way to specify the exact number of sprinkler heads, but this is a great idea and a feature we’ll consider for future software development.

Do you happen to know how big your zones are and how many gallons of water zone used per your water meter’s readings? If so, we can run some numbers and fine tune your account settings.

Let us know your thoughts moving forward. Hope you’re enjoying your Iro!

Best, Emil

I have 5 Zones:

  1. 1700 sqft & 15 GPM
  2. 2700 sqft & 18 GPM
  3. 2000 sqft & 12 GPM
  4. 500 sqft & 7.5 GPM
  5. 1800 sqft & 15 GPM

I calculated the following precipitation rates:

  1. .85 in/hr
  2. .64 in/hr
  3. .58 in/hr
  4. 1.45 in/hr
  5. .80 in/hr

I made custom nozzles & put in the appropriate area for each zone so hopefully that will help obtain better numbers for total gallons used.

Thanks, Mitch

Hi @Mitch, sorry I missed seeing your reply.

All of your precipitation rates sound good. The only one that was different for me was #4 – I calculated 1.44 :wink:

For everyone else following this thread, was this process difficult for you? Any tips/advice you could give other users to help them to the same thing you did?

Best, Emil


Is the “metered usage” feature going to be in the first release of the new SW?


– Tom

@tmr, good evening! Thanks for reaching out.

We will not be changing the custom nozzle setup with the 2.0 release. We are exploring some better ways to do this, but haven’t decided on any changes yet. In the mean time, I’d recommend checking our our support article on precipitation rates for details on understanding and calculating your custom nozzles.

Hope this helps.

Best, Emil

I’d also like to see a manual entry gal per min field per zone, getting that from a meter is much easier than dealing with square footage and precipitation rate.

Thanks @GregS, I’ll forward this to the product team for review and consideration moving forward. I see value in adding this. Is there anything else you’d recommend adding?

Best, Emil

This is EXACTLY what I am looking for with the Rachio and the entire reason I joined this forum. I was really hoping this feature was already implemented but it sounds like it’s on the roadmap so I guess I can wait.

What I would love to see from it:

A- General estimation for zones
B- Customizable water consumption for each zone, let alone each type. Ex, I also have a severe case of OCD and I have measured with my current system how much flows through by checking the water meter for each zone. Just saying that there are multiple drip zones doesn’t always mean they will use the same amount of water per minute.
C- Adding a water rate. My water rates are $6.141 for the first 3x CCFs, then they jump to $7.153 for each CCF after that. Different months offer different rates. If it doesn’t get that complicated that’s ok, A single water rate to be entered would be fine as I’m sure my house will use around 3 CCFs for month for toilets / showers / sinks / etc.

Summarizing the above into a chart / graph that can state how many minutes each zone ran, at what rate, that would put an easy immediate perspective of water used, water saved, $$ saved. Etc.



Add my support for this.

And thanks to the person early on who cleverly figured out how to specify gal/min/zone by specifying sf and creating custom heads to match up to observed gals/min/zone.

One comment I have is don’t assume no one has a flow meter already implemented (providing gals per min.) I’d keep it simply and simply offer opportunity to override the internal gals/min with a user input gals/min.

Best regards,


@Rapey, we should be able to take this data and calculate the custom nozzle precip rate for each zone. Could you share the data you have and I’ll take a look?

This would be pretty slick! Will forward to the product team for consideration (this idea probably deserves it’s own post so it doesn’t get lost in the precip discussions). Just curious, how often would you update this if the pricing changes on the monthly/seasonal basis?

@a0128958, similar to @Rapey, if you have data around gals/min on a per zone basis, this can be used to create custom nozzles. We just have to back into the math. It’s pretty simple. For reference, please see this support article on calculating precip rates.

Send me data if you need help calculating. :wink:

Best, Emil

I would very much like to see a simple “GPM per zone” setting to more accurately gauge the amount of water that I’m using. It’s really easy for me to get GPM numbers, while it seems like the app is trying to do something much more complicated and less precise for measuring usage. I realize that it may hurt the ability to do other fancy calculations based on the actual nozzles being used, but I’m currently more interested in the impact on my wallet and water usage in these times of drought :smile:

I’ll try the custom nozzle route to see if I can get a good approximation until we see something like this in the app.