Water is life. So it’s a commodity that the world has to conserve and use responsibly. Golf must play its part and demonstrate leadership in sustainable water management.
Think about it. Global water consumption is doubling every 20 years. Climate change will also have an impact. As an industry golf's water footprint is significant: it incorporates the irrigation of over 30,000 golf courses worldwide, and the use of potable water in clubhouses, restaurants and real estate. It extends to the manufacturing of machinery, merchandise and equipment; fertiliser, pesticide, turf and seed production; as well as cements, concrete and other construction materials. The question is how does such an industry reduce its water use?
A blueprint for change
Golf can optimize its water consumption and quality by increasing operational efficiency and utilising innovative technologies. Water costs will rise, so acting decisively now will reap financial benefits for golf businesses everywhere.
- Critical areas for further research and development are drought and disease resistant turfgrasses that can survive using low quality irrigation water.
- In tandem the industry should adopt a low impact approach to design, construction and management. This may even have implications for the use of any turfgrass at all in certain regions.
- Golf courses should play a positive role in the sustainable use of water by contributing to the natural function of the aquatic ecosystems and watersheds they are located in. They can contribute positively to the water cycle by attenuating and naturally treating water, and allowing slow percolation into soil and aquifers, ultimately improving water quality.
- Swales, ditches, wetlands, waterways and other sustainable drainage features can make a meaningful contribution the natural replenishment, purification and re-cycling of water supplies.
Learn how GEO Certified™ golf clubs are using water responsibly:
Golfclub Zwolle has a closed water system that is mostly independent from the bordering waterways under the control of the district water board. Drainage water flows into attenuation area and exits the site via a one-way valve that prevents nutrient rich agricultural runoff from entering the golf course’s water sources.
Read the GEO Certified™ Report for Zwolle
Centro Nacional de Golf
CNG's irrigation water currently comes from legally-allowed groundwater sources and rain water collection in the lakes around the course. The Madrid City Council has recently completed a regenerated water pipeline which will soon enable CNG to fulfill its irrigation requirements from 100% sustainable sources.
Read the GEO Certified™ Report for CNG