Global warming is expected to increase agricultural water scarcity; thus, optimized irrigation schedules are important and timely for sustainable crop production. Deficit irrigation, which balances crop growth and water consumption, has been proposed, but the critical threshold is not easily quantified. Here, we conducted experiments on strawberry plants subjecting progressive drought following various water recovery treatments on the high-throughput physiological phenotyping system “Plantarray”. The critical soil water contents (θ cri), below which the plant transpiration significantly decreased, were calculated from the inflection point of the transpiration rate (Tr) - volumetric soil water content (VWC) curve fitted by a piecewise function. The physiological traits of water relations were compared between the well-watered plants (CK), plants subjecting the treatment of rewatering at the point of θ cri following progressive drought (WR_θ cri), and the plants subjecting the treatment of rewatering at severe drought following progressive drought (WR_SD). The results showed that midday Tr, daily transpiration (E), and biomass gain of the plants under WR_θ cri treatment were equivalent to CK during the whole course of the experiment, but those under WR_SD treatment were significantly lower than CK during the water stress phase that could not recover even after rehydration. To explore the gene regulatory mechanisms, transcriptome analysis of the samples collected 12 h before, 12 h post and 36 h post water recovery in the three treatments was conducted. GO and KEGG enrichment analyses for the differentially expressed genes indicated that genes involved in mineral absorption and flavonoid biosynthesis were among the most striking transcriptionally reversible genes under the WR_θ cri treatment. Functional physiological phenotyping and transcriptome data provide new insight into a potential, quantitative, and balanceable water-saving strategy for strawberry irrigation and other agricultural crops.