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Institutional and commercial facilities continue their search for savings and efficiency related to water use, and for many grounds managers, that search increasingly includes a close inspection of irrigation systems. Old irrigation systems are notorious for waste related to leaks, and this situation is prompting many managers to reconsider the way facilities use them and the water that passes through them — all in the name of holding down utility costs and minimizing the use of water.
Among the largest users of water for irrigation are facilities in the Southeast, where high temperatures and relatively little rainfall create a huge demand. In many of these facilities, things are changing.
In parts of northern Arizona, golf courses over the past decade have stopped using drinking water to keep their greens vibrant. Instead, they use effluent or recycled water. But in Phoenix, less than one-quarter of the water used on golf courses is reclaimed wastewater. About 75 percent of the water used to irrigate courses in the Prescott active management area is effluent, compared with only 21 percent in the Phoenix active management area, according to a 2014 University of Arizona study.
One local official says it is critical to rethink the use of water, especially given Arizona’s multi-billion dollar golf industry, according to Cronkite News.
“It’s important just from a perspective of living in the desert that we really value our water, and we use it for the correct purposes,” says Debra Stark, a Phoenix councilwoman who has worked to get golf courses to stop using drinking water.
Nearly three-quarters of the water used for all Arizona golf courses is pumped from the same sources as drinking water, according to the Arizona Department of Water Resources’ most recent reports from 2016.
This Quick Read was submitted by Dan Hounsell — firstname.lastname@example.org — editor-in-chief of Facility Maintenance Decisions, and chief editor of Facilitiesnet.com.