The increasing concentration of the US populations in urban and suburban areas is leading to concentrated demand for water resources. This urbanization has begun to challenge the supply of affordable and plentiful fresh (potable) water for irrigation in New York State. Water suppliers in most of the northeastern US must double the supply capacity to meet demand in the summer, resulting in high infrastructure costs. Therefore, economic, social, environmental, and political pressures dictate that water is used efficiently and conserved on New York’s golf courses.
Golf course superintendents can maintain a landscape optimal for play, while conserving water, through effective course design and management. For example, reducing managed turf areas reduces water needs, maximizes rooting in areas that are irrigated, and improves the use of the water applied. In addition, a well-designed, properly maintained, and wisely used irrigation system ensures the uniform application of water and minimizes runoff.
Many of the BMPs discussed in this web site result in more efficient water usage, such as improving the efficiency of irrigation systems. In addition, superintendents can reduce irrigation requirements by a number of means, such as minimizing maintained areas, maximizing rooting potential, reducing water lost through ET, improving soil water storage where possible on sandy sites.
Turfgrass selection can also reduce irrigation requirements. The increased availability of improved turfgrass species and varieties provides an excellent opportunity to select the most well adapted turf to site conditions. If selected for drought tolerance, some turfgrass varieties require less water to survive and maintain playability. For more information, see the information on turfgrass selection on this web site.
For general information on water conservation on golf courses, see:
- United States Golf Association (USGA) Research on Turfgrass Water Use page: http://www.usga.org/course-care/water-resource-center/research-on-turfgrass-water-use.html
- “Water Conservation” Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) http://www.gcsaa.org/course/communication/golfcoursefacts/water-conservation
For examples of how NYS superintendents are conserving water on their courses, visit our Case Studies page.