Vegas Golf Courses Save 1 Billion

Las Vegas golf courses thrive while conserving 1 billion gallons of water

Jul 16, 2007, 01:00 ET from Southern Nevada Water Authority

    LAS VEGAS, July 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern Nevada golf courses are
 discovering the benefits of replacing thirsty grass with water-efficient
 landscaping. Since 2001, Las Vegas area courses have converted more than
 18.5 million square feet of grass -- about 425 acres -- to water-smart
 landscaped, target-style courses resulting in a 1 billion gallon per year
 water savings.
     Eleven courses in Southern Nevada currently are in the midst of
 landscape conversions: among them, Red Rock Country Club has converted more
 than a million square feet this year alone at its Arroyo and Mountain
     Spanish Trail Golf and Country Club is undergoing a major overhaul of
 the entire course, including turf removal, reshaping and improving ponds
 and moving irrigation lines, said superintendent Jon Valentine.
     The City of Henderson has launched major landscape conversions at its
 municipal Wild Horse Golf Course, while the Angel Park Golf Club is in the
 midst of a 70-acre conversion scheduled for completion in 2008, said
 superintendent Bill Rohret. So far, he said, players are giving the changes
 "rave reviews."
     "We don't hear any more complaints about balls being lost in the
 rough," Rohret said.
     Along with landscape conversions, golf courses take other measures to
 save the community's most precious natural resource. All local golf courses
 have on-site weather stations linked to their irrigations systems by
 computers that enable each course to base their irrigation schedules on
 daily weather conditions. These systems also monitor evapotranspiration, or
 the amount of moisture given off by grasses and plants, so water is applied
 only as needed.
     Most golf courses use valve-in-head technology in their irrigation
 systems. While typical residential and commercial systems have one valve
 for every five to 10 sprinkler heads, golf course systems are equipped with
 one valve for each sprinkler head. This provides them with greater control
 over watering run times and coverage.
     Current drought restrictions subject local golf courses to water
 budgets, restricting them to 6.3 acre-feet of water per acre. (An acre-foot
 equals about 326,000 gallons.) Significant financial penalties are applied
 to any water used over budgeted amounts.
     Golf course water budgets are based upon acre-feet of water (including
 potable, raw, reclaimed and recycled water) for each acre irrigated,
 including lakes and ponds that exist within a golf course and those serving
 as golf course irrigation reservoirs. Once measured, the irrigated acreage
 remains fixed, creating an incentive for golf courses to convert unneeded
 turf to other styles of water-efficient landscaping. If a golf course
 expands its course by increasing the number of playing holes, a new
 irrigated acreage is determined.
     To further extend their water savings, golf courses in Southern Nevada
 primarily use warm season grasses. Some municipal courses don't overseed,
 so the grass gets almost no water during the winter months and only about
 two-thirds as much as a cool-season grass, such as fescue, would require in
 the summer.
     Through these many efforts, Southern Nevada golf courses are doing
 their share in the community's ongoing efforts to conserve water and use it
 more efficiently.
     "Golf courses are the most judicious business about the way they use
 water," said Valentine. "We don't just set a timer and walk away. Water
 conservation is one of the biggest parts of what we do every day."
     Contact: J.C. Davis
              (702) 258-7117

SOURCE Southern Nevada Water Authority