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oxymoron is a good word for automatic sprinkler systems.
If you have one you can't just turn it on in the spring then forget it till the fall. Should be adjusted during the season dependent on the amount of rain.
On one large sun-exposed lawn I maintain the system was on for only about a week during the season of 2008!


they can end up causing more harm than good.
 plants (grass included) need periods of "stress."
 with a constant supply of water root growth stops (no need to explore) resulting in an          unbalance between top growth and roots

when they target the tree leaves they encourage fungi and disease, can overstimulate plants to encourage pests, an exponential increase for weeding in beds.

with proper design a garden should need little or no supplemental watering.

improper installation/adjustments/monitoring is a misuse of resources
 (as the word conservation creeps into our consciousness)


exposed (sun baked) lawn areas are the exception if they are to stay green in the summer but a system should be monitored (turned off and on depending on the weather) throughout the season.

dragging hoses around, setting up temporary  sprinklers, soil soakers can be a project.