Irrigation System Requirements

A permit is required for the installation of irrigation systems, which must comply with the requirements of the Texas Administrative Code Chapter 344, Rules for Landscape Irrigation. Additionally, a backflow prevention device is required at the connection to the water supply, and must be independently tested by a licensed backflow tester.

State law allows a homeowner to perform this work at their homestead, but a city permit is still required. Any other work must be performed by a licensed irrigator or master plumber that is registered with the City of Fort Worth.

Permits and fees

A permit and fee is required of homeowners and contractors if the irrigation is directly connected to the municipal water supply.

The permitting process is handled through the Development Services Department at 817-392-2222.

For a list of licensed contractors, please contact the Development Services Department.

To view a listing of registered backflow testers, click here.

Irrigator requirements

  1. All licensed irrigators must display their state issued license number on their work vehicle.
  2. The state license number must also be reflected on any printed promotional materials including business cards, flyers, etc.
  3. All contracts and or work service orders must have the irrigators name, address, license number and telephone number.
  4. All written contracts and work service orders must include: “Irrigation in Texas is regulated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, P. O. Box 13087, Austin, Texas 78711-3087”.
  5. Irrigators or Master Plumbers should supply customers with a written statement of guarantee covering all materials and labor for the system installation.

More information


  1. An Irrigator shall prepare an Irrigation Plan as described in subsection (d), for each site prior to installation or Alteration of an Irrigation System. An easily available paper or electronic copy of the Irrigation Plan must be on site at all times during such installation of the Irrigation System. 
  2. During the installation or Alteration of the Irrigation System, variances from the original plan are allowable if noted in red on the Irrigation Plan, and provided that the change(s) does not: 
  3. Diminish the operational integrity of the Irrigation System; nor 
  4. Violate any requirement of this Article VII. 
  5. The Irrigation Plan must include complete coverage of the area to be irrigated. If a system does not provide complete coverage of the area to be irrigated, it must be noted on the Irrigation Plan. 
  6. All Irrigation Plans must be drawn to scale. The plan shall include the following information: 
  7. The Irrigator’s seal, signature, and date of signing; 
  8. All major physical features and the boundaries of the areas to be watered; 
  9. A North arrow; 
  10. A legend; 
  11. The Zone Flow measurement for each Zone; 
  12. Location and type each Automatic Controller and sensor (such as rain, moisture, wind, flow, or freeze sensors); 
  13. Location, type, and size of each: 1. Water source, such as, but not limited to a water meter and point(s) of connection; 2. Backflow Prevention Assembly; 3. Water emission device, including, but not limited to, spray heads, rotary sprinkler heads, quick-couplers, bubblers, drip, or micro-sprays; 4. Valve, including but not limited to, Zone valves, master valves, and isolation valves; 5. Pressure regulation component; and 6. Main line and lateral piping. 7. The scale used. 
  14. The design pressure. 
  15. An Irrigator commits an offense if the Irrigator fails to provide an Irrigation Plan for the irrigation system that person installed or caused to be installed as required herein.

When searching for a professional irrigation contractor to install a system or service an existing system, there are certain qualifications you should consider. Use these tips as a guide to help you make an informed choice for your irrigation project.

  1. Certification and Licensing - Any person connecting an irrigation system to Fort Worth’s water supply or within the City’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) on or after January 1, 2009, must have a valid license, issued by Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. View the Irrigation Ordinance(PDF, 906KB) for more information.
  2. Permit - Any person installing or altering an irrigation system by 20 percent or more in Fort Worth or within the City’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ), must obtain a permit from the City of Fort Worth Development Services Department.
  3. Ask for References. You have a right and responsibility to ask for references and examples of completed projects. This will help you feel more comfortable with the contractor’s ability to meet your irrigation needs.
  4. Get a written proposal and copy of the irrigation plan. A professional contractor should provide a written proposal. In Fort Worth they are required to prepare an irrigation plan prior to installation or alteration of an irrigation system. The irrigation plan is a scaled drawing of a landscape irrigation system which shows the scope of the project, and the changes made in the installation of an irrigation system.
  5. Insurance - Reputable professionals will carry appropriate insurance policies to protect you and your property. Expect these minimums from a professional irrigation contractor:
  6. Contracts - This is a guarantee of professional work and a statement specifying mutually agreed upon standards. Insist on a written contract for your protection, regardless of the amount. After the contract is signed, any changes you and the contractor agree to make in the work or materials to be used must be in writing. This written “change order” must also include any additions or reductions in the total job price. Here’s a list of basic elements you’ll find in most irrigation contracts.
  7. Specific costs of materials to be installed
  8. Specified start date and an estimated completion date
  9. Statement regarding payments arrangements such as down payment, progress payment and balance due
  10. The name, street address and telephone number of the contractor
  11. Complete description of the work to be done and materials to be used (including quantities and brands of irrigation equipment)
  12. Guarantees of work and materials
  13. Statement that the contractor will do any necessary cleanup and removal of debris after the job is completed
  14. “Notice to Owner” explaining the state’s mechanic’s lien laws and the ways to protect yourself and your property
  15. “Notice of Cancellation” informing you that you have three days after signing the contract to cancel it
  16. Statement requiring the contractor to provide proper lien releases for suppliers
  17. Validation of any required license and certificates of insurance, not just copies
  18. Statement that the work will meet the standards specified in the contract
  19. Customer Service - The contractor you hire should be available if you have questions or if a problem arises in the future. Additionally, ask questions about how to reset the controller once your new turf is established.
  20. Expect a final walk-through - In Fort Worth, professional contractors are required to perform a final walk-through inspection with the homeowner or owner’s representative. View requirements: Walk-through with Homeowner
  21. Water Management - Water efficiency is critical in the design or alternation of an in-ground system. Ensure your contractor will design your system with water efficiency in mind, considering any opportunities to use drip irrigation in vegetable or garden beds that will require less water.

Upon completion of the irrigation system installation or alteration, the Irrigator or Irrigation Technician who provided supervision for the on-site installation shall complete the following:


  1. The Irrigator or Irrigation Technician shall perform a final walk-through inspection with the irrigation system’s owner or the owner’s representative. The walk-through shall include a review of those items on the maintenance checklist as described in subsection (b). 
  2. The items on the maintenance checklist required in subsection (a) shall include: 
  3. The Irrigator’s name, license number, company name, telephone number; 
  4. The location of the water meter, isolation valve, backflow prevention assembly, sprinkler heads, drip or pressure compensating tubing irrigation, rain or moisture and freeze shut-off device; 
  5. The Irrigation Plan; 
  6. The manufacturer’s manual for the automatic controller; 
  7. A seasonal (spring, summer, fall, winter) watering schedule based on either current/real time evapotranspiration or monthly historical reference evapotranspiration (historical ET) data, monthly effective rainfall estimates, plant landscape coefficient factors, and site factors; 
  8. A list of components, such as the nozzle, or pump filters, and other such components that require maintenance and the recommended frequency for the service; and 
  9. The following statement, “This Irrigation System has been installed in accordance with all applicable state and local laws, ordinances, rules, regulations or orders. I have tested the system and determined that it has been installed according to the Irrigation Plan and is properly adjusted for the most efficient application of water at this time.” 
  10. The Irrigator or Irrigation Technician shall obtain the signature of the irrigation system’s owner or owner’s representative on the maintenance checklist which evidences that a walk-through by the two parties was performed and included a review of those items in (b) above. If the irrigation system’s owner or owner’s representative is unwilling or unable to sign the maintenance checklist, the Irrigator or Irrigation Technician shall note the time and date of the refusal on the irrigation system’s owner or owner’s representative’s signature line. 
  11. The Irrigator or the Irrigation Technician shall provide the irrigation system owner or owner’s representative the signed original maintenance checklist and a copy of the Irrigation Plan. 
  12. The Irrigator or Irrigation Technician shall permanently affix the Irrigator’s name, license number, company name and telephone number to each automatic controller installed by the Irrigator or Irrigation Technician. The information must be waterproof. 
  13. In the event that the irrigation system owner or owner’s representative is a residential home builder, then a copy of the Irrigation Plan indicating the actual installation of the system and corresponding maintenance checklist must be placed within or attached to the automatic controller when such home is sold. A signed statement from the new owner and the residential home builder, or builder’s representative, stating they have received and transferred, respectively, a copy of the Irrigation Plan and maintenance checklist must be provided to the City’s Water Department within 30 days of the transfer to the new owner. 
  14. A person commits an offense if that person fails to comply with the terms of this Section.