Water Use

Water is a shared and scarce resource. Despite the perennially wet weather, the high population density in England means that there is actually less water available per person than in some Mediterranean countries such as Italy or Spain.

Golf clubs use a lot of water to irrigate the golf course, to provide shower facilities, toilets, food preparation and cleaning. Not forgetting that water is also needed by our wildlife, and an overuse of water can leave too little in lakes and rivers to sustain aquatic life in summer. Furthermore, wasting hot water increases golf club costs through increased energy bills. Every drop of water costs money, therefore water efficiency measures could have a big impact on water use and subsequently, finances.

Water in the Clubhouse

  • Sewerage charges can be extortionate but the charges may be avoidable. Think about reducing water use and quantifying the water that is not disposed through the mains sewer to reduce costs. More tips on reducing sewerage charges
  • Could the golf club use alternative sources of water for irrigation? ‘Greywater’ from washing machines, showers and sinks can be used, vastly reducing water costs. More on greywater and blackwater
  • Water efficient products and water saving devices can be purchased to reduce water use, and staff and members should also be made aware of their personal water use at the club. More on water efficient technologies
  • A UK Government scheme has been introduced to allow businesses to claim back water-saving investment costs which can save a lot of money for golf clubs. More on financial support

Water use on the Golf Course

  • In times of heavy rain, water is drained away from playing surfaces and diverted off of the golf course, but what if this water could be stored and used for irrigation in times of drought? Harvesting rainwater, groundwater/surface water abstraction and the use of greywater or blackwater provide other alternatives to mainswater. More on water sourcing
  • Playing surfaces do not always have to be lush and green, reducing irrigation will still provide playable surfaces and reduce financial costs. Consider watering at night to minimise evaporation loss and check sprinklers, could 180o heads be used instead? More ideas for reducing irrigation water
  • Golf course drainage is often designed to be quick, however this can be detrimental to the surrounding environment. Sustainable drainage is more environmentally friendly and mimics natural drainage. A number of designs can be adopted including swales, filter strips, and the use of ponds and wetlands. More on drainage
  • Water is also essential in rinsing off grass clippings, dirt and chemical residues from golf course maintenance equipment. Washdown water can be cleansed by cesspits, biological wastewater systems or reedbeds. More on machinery washdown
  • Runoff water from the golf club carpark should be treated with an oil water separator or similar treatment system before it can be safely discharged. More on sewage and carpark discharge
  • Chemical spillages can occur within golf courses, therefore, each club should have a spill kit and emergency plan detailing the location of extinguishers and water supply points etc. More on chemical spillages

Water legislation

  • Water legislation provides guidance on how much water can be safely removed from the environment and which pollutants can be safely discharged, amongst other guidelines. More on water legislation
  • The Water Framework Directive (WFD) (2000/60/EC) aims to preserve and enhance the ecological and chemical water quality of water in the environment. The Directive has implications for the treatment of washdown water, pesticide and fertiliser use, water use and sourcing, and land drainage. More on WFD
  • The Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010 control discharges to surface water and groundwater. More on Environmental Permitting Regulations