Modular, decentralized solutions can help golf courses minimize use of potable water sources
Golf courses use a great deal of water for irrigation and other purposes. A typical 150-acre golf course uses approximately 200 million gallons of water a year, enough to supply 1,800 residences with 300 GPD of water.
If the golf course is associated with a golf community or resort, domestic water use must also be taken into account. Golf course managers also have to maintain water features like ponds and water hazards, which are highly vulnerable to eutrophication and associated odors, algae, and toxicity.
Golf Course Water Reuse
Water reuse is a great option for golf course irrigation. According to the United States Golf Association, in 2014, 13% of U.S. golf courses were irrigating with recycled water. In Orange County, for example, as many as 60% of golf courses incorporated water reuse.
Using recycled water is not only better for the environment, but it’s also cheaper than using potable water.
However, water reuse can come with its own challenges. For one, many sources of wastewater are excessively saline and contain other contaminants, so they need to be treated before use.
Many golf courses — notably in California, Florida, and Arizona — have seen benefits from desalinating recycled water with reverse osmosis (RO). Benefits include lower leaching, a firm/fast course, significant water savings, and drastic cuts in gypsum, herbicide, and top-dressing requirements. Wastewater is less saline than seawater, considerably lowering the cost of desalination.
Decentralized Reuse in Golf Communities and Resorts
Resort guests and buyers of homes in golf communities are increasingly concerned with environmental footprint. Nearly 1,000 golf course communities in 27 countries, many of which have residential communities attached, already are fully certified by Audubon International’s Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf.
In a 2020 article, The New York Times published recommendations for finding a sustainable golf community, advising home-seekers to consider among other factors, how much and when a golf community uses water and whether it uses recycled wastewater to irrigate.
It’s very expensive and energy-intensive to build and maintain pipelines for transporting the wastewater to and from distant treatment plants for reuse. Instead, it makes more sense to treat the wastewater on-site and then reuse it locally.
Fluence Aspiral™ modular wastewater treatment units use membrane aerated biofilm reactor (MABR) technology to transform raw municipal sewage into top-quality irrigation effluent that exceeds California’s tough Title 22 standard.
Aspiral™ has a tiny footprint and can be deployed with unprecedented speed. By using decentralized wastewater treatment, that is, recycling wastewater from sources directly adjacent to the course, one of the main cost barriers to irrigation reuse — pipelines — becomes negligible.
Contact Fluence to discuss the water needs of your golf resort.