The California golf industry understands the magnitude of the state’s current water crisis and our facilities fully intend to cooperate with Governor Jerry Brown’s executive order issued April 1, 2015. However, day and time of the week restrictions on irrigation are an ineffective way to meet conservation goals and obtain the most out of the limited water that is available.
Golf industry water conservation task forces have been formed throughout California in response to time and day of the week restrictions that were unworkable for the golf industry. These task forces developed protocols to sell the value of allowing “large landscapes” to meet water conservation mandates in a manner consistent with sound business practices. These practices would allow golf courses, parks and cemeteries to reduce consumption while retaining 100 percent control over irrigation practices – an “alternative means” of complying without being restricted to watering only on certain days of the week and only during certain hours of those days. In return for the easing of restrictions, participating large landscapes would be required to achieve greater water use reduction (typically 5 percent) than other water users.
Why are day of the week and time restrictions inefficient?
- Extreme temperatures, humidity and high winds affect irrigation requirements and superintendents will be forced to ineffectively use water if day of the week and time restrictions are in place when those conditions are present.
- With day of the week and time restrictions, superintendents may not be able to fully take advantage of water savings that arise from precipitation events or cooling temperatures. With such restrictions, you cannot risk missing a watering day even though weather forecasts may call for a chance of rain or a cooling trend in the next 12-48 hour period.
- Golf courses and other large landscapes may be forced to extend irrigation operations and operate pumps outside of “off peak” energy conservation windows currently in place by many California energy providers, placing an additional stress on the electrical grid.
- With a reduced watering window, golf courses and other large landscapes, in some instances, may apply more water than needed on the prescribed days creating more potential for turfgrass disease and subsequent pesticide applications that would otherwise be unnecessary if water could be more judiciously managed.
- The use of advanced technology, including state-of-the-art irrigation systems, mobile sensing technology and soil moisture meters, allow superintendents to determine exactly when, where and how much water is needed. The water needs of the turf will often not correlate with prescribed water schedules, thereby making those irrigation cycles less efficient or forcing the superintendent to irrigate more heavily than otherwise required.
- By not being able to hand water with hoses due to time-of-day restrictions, superintendents will be forced to apply additional irrigation to the entire putting green surface, as opposed to spot treating small areas in need of supplemental irrigation.