If you live in a rural or semi-rural area, then you likely will not get your water from a municipal water line. This means that you will use a pump to provide water to your home. Just because you are on a pump system does not mean that you can't use water from your home to maintain a lawn. It does, however, mean that you need to carefully design your system to prevent damage to your pump.
Problems Associated with a Poorly Designed Sprinkler System
To understand the risks associated with running sprinklers on a pump system, you first need to understand the basic operation of the pump. Your well pump will be connected to a pressure tank in your home and this tank will be fitted with a specially designed water gauge. When the pressure in the tank falls to a preset limit, the gauge will trigger the pump to come on and start refilling the tank. When the pressure in the tank reaches the preset maximum, the gauge will shut the pump off.
The problem with a poorly designed system is that the output of the sprinklers will not match the output of the pump. This means that your pressure tank will drain as the sprinklers run until the pump kicks on and refills the tank. The pump will then turn off, and the tank will drain and refill over and over until the sprinklers run their cycle. The more your pump has to turn on and off, the more wear it incurs. Thus, to maintain the health of your pump, you need to pay careful attention to how you design your system to avoid constant cycling.
Your first task should be to make sure that your sprinklers get enough pressure to run properly because if the sprinklers aren't running at the right pressure, they will not provide the coverage that they should, and you will end up with dry spots in your lawn. You may need to adjust the settings at your pressure tank in order to get enough pressure for your sprinklers.
Sprinklers will come with several options for nozzles, and each nozzle will have a different gallons-per-hour rating. Make sure that as you build your zones, the nozzles you choose will add up to the output of your pump. Thus, if your pump produces fifteen gallons, your nozzles should use the same.
In the end, your pressure tank should drain until the pump kicks on, which will then fill your tank until the output of the pump matches the output of your sprinklers. This will provide the best coverage for your lawn and ensure that your pump runs consistently instead of jerking on and off. Running sprinklers on a well system presents challenges that you don't have to worry about on a municipal system, but with the right design, you should be able to make it work.