How a golf course in the Tucson area saves water

TUCSON, Arizona (KOLD News 13) – It takes a lot of water to keep a golf course in perfect condition.

As the water supply dwindles, courses try to do their part.

“We’ll be using over a million gallons of water this summer without any problems,” said Wally Dowe, director of golf maintenance at Ventana Canyon.

If a million gallons a day sounds like a lot, then you’re going to be in another shock. The club actually has two seats so they use 2 million gallons of water every day, and that number is constantly increasing

“We had to pour more because of the lack of rainfall,” said Dowe.

Dowe has worked on the Ventana Canyon course for about 25 years and said the monsoons had become more volatile.

“Ten to 20 years ago you were pretty much guaranteed July 4th, it would start and you would get 4 inches in July and 4 inches in August,” Dowe said. “Since we were near the mountain, we got between 12 and 14 inches of rain and last year we got 6 inches.”

Because of this volatility, Dowe said her water bill had skyrocketed. However, Dowe isn’t afraid of potential water restrictions and that’s because of where their water comes from.

“We have sewage, so we don’t use groundwater, our limiting constraint is cost,” said Dowe.

Dowe says he knows we are in a drought, so they are trying to cut water usage.

“We took away turf that we didn’t think was essential, we removed about five to six acres,” said Dowe. “It’s small compared to the big system, but every little bit helps”

Dowe also said if they stopped watering the grass in the correct amount, it could permanently damage the grass and force them to use more and more water for regrowth.

The Arizona Department of Water Resources said courses in Phoenix that use groundwater should reduce their overall use by about 3 percent – although one group of courses is resisting, arguing that it could have an impact on their business.

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