Golf’s danger zone: Ongoing drought, looming mandatory water cutbacks force golf courses to get creative as a matter of survival; Other regions taking proactive stance to cut water use at golf courses
From the North County Times:
The increasing thirst for water in the region has many residents concerned about rising costs and mandatory cutbacks, which could result in green-deficient wallets and browner lawns.
For most local golf courses, the water shortage is the most pressing issue of the day, forcing many to re-think watering and maintenance methods in order to stretch their most precious commodity. “It’s a major concern,” said Scott Bentley, general manager at the Country Club of Rancho Bernardo. “It’s becoming a danger sign.”
Golf courses can use a stunning amount of water:
For golf courses, water usage varies depending on the size, but it’s not uncommon for a course to consume more than 400,000 gallons in one summer day. With more than 80 golf courses in San Diego County alone, that’s plenty of water being sprayed around. According to Golf Digest, U.S. courses each use an average of 300,000 gallons a day.
By contrast, a single person uses approximately 180 gallons a day, according to the San Diego County Water Authority.
However, it’s not always drinking water that’s being used:
Only a small fraction of San Diego courses rely on tap water —- called potable water —- as their sole source of irrigation, according to Brendon Reaksecker, president of the San Diego Golf Course Superintendents Association.
Many courses have their own wells, which provide what is called groundwater. Others use reclaimed water and raw water, which comes directly from aqueducts, or even runoff from local neighborhoods.
“There’s a misperception of where (golf course) water comes from,” said Reaksecker, who is also the superintendent at Bonita Golf Club. “Many courses use a combination from many sources. This is our business, and we’d go out of business if we wasted water.”
Find out more about how San Diego-area golf courses are responding to the drought in this article from the North County Times by clicking here.
A related story, also from the North County Times, discusses what golf courses in other locales are doing to cut back on water use:
While the San Diego County Water Authority and some local water agencies are reaching out to golf courses in attempts to encourage water conservation, there are currently no mandates to enforce it. That’s a different story from other drought-plagued regions such as Nevada and Arizona, states that regulate usage with turf reductions programs and water budgets.
Five years ago, the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) began paying golf courses and residents up to $1.50 per square foot to remove turf, a “cash for grass” program that cost the agency $40 million in the last fiscal year.
The effort has been a success, having removed more than 600,000 acres of turf from area golf courses and saving more than 1 billion gallons of water from those courses. Of the more than 40 courses in Clark County, 26 are participating in the program.
“You can’t hardly find a (grass) yard in Las Vegas anymore,” said Dale Hahn, the superintendent at TPC Summerlin, the site of the PGA Tour’s annual stop in Las Vegas. “They’re paying a lot of money to have us remove turf. And it’s working.”
Read more of this story from the North County Times by clicking here.