How Do I use the Watering Index?

Most modern sprinkler timers have a feature that lets you use a Watering Index – it is often called a "Seasonal Adjust" or "Water Budget" feature. The Watering Index (%) modifies your sprinkler controller's watering runtimes. It does this by controlling the watering runtimes for all electric valves managed by your sprinkler controller. By adjusting the Watering Index on your sprinkler controller, all your watering runtimes are either increased or decreased. The adjustment is effectively a percentage (%) of the maximum watering runtime allowed by the sprinkler controller for each valve. As an example, if you water for 6 minutes in summer (at a 100% Watering Index), a 50% Watering Index setting would reduce sprinkler runtimes to 3 minutes.

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1. What is a Watering Index?
2. How Do I use the Watering Index?
3. What if my plants look stressed even though I'm using the recommended Watering Index?
4. What is basis for the Watering Index?
5. Is there anything else I can do to improve my watering practices and reduce my use of water?