Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Golf courses that reuse water irrigate too much

16.03.2011
Irrigation is one of the most controversial aspects in the sustainable management of golf courses. Researchers from the Canary Islands have spent 25 years analysing the practices relating to reclaimed water at one of the oldest golf courses in Spain. The results show that plants on the course receive 83% more water than they need.

"Excessive amounts of water are used, and this cannot be justified from any perspective", María del Pino Palacios Díaz, lead author of the study and a researcher at the Department of Animal Pathology, Animal Production and Food Science and Technology at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, tells SINC.

Despite the high cost of water (around €0.4 per cubic meter), the amount of water used on golf courses in the Canary Islands continues to be "excessive". On the golf course studied, plants receive more than 83% more water than they need, which reduces the risk of substances accumulating in the soil, but increases the risk of contaminating the aquifer.

The researchers have confirmed this on the basis of a "detailed" analysis of the nutrients and other substances contained in the reclaimed water, and by studying how this is absorbed by the soil and plants, how it travels through the unsaturated area, and the likelihood of it reaching the aquifer.

The research, which has been published in the Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, also looked at the effect of re-using water reclaimed from desalinated urban water on soil fertility and the health of the greens between 1982 and 2007 at the Royal Golf Club of Las Palmas, one of the oldest courses in Spain and a "model" club in terms of how it is managed.

According to Palacios Díaz, although the study focused on a single golf course, the results could be extrapolated "to others in semi-arid or arid areas that are irrigated using water from urban or marine sources, and with similar soil characteristics".

Effects of using treated water

The quality of the water used to irrigate golf courses has improved a great deal since the 1970s. It is also "recommendable" that those that are able and that suffer from salinity problems reuse desalinated water for maintenance purposes. In fact, "permission is not given for new courses if they cannot show that the water used to irrigate them will be reclaimed", the expert explains.

The Royal Golf Club of Las Palmas is irrigated with water that has been desalinated, consumed by the public, treated and once again desalinated before being recycled for reuse. However, "the combination of water with low salinity and a high proportion of exchangeable sodium (which is common in desalinated regenerated water) can have a negative impact on the structural stability of soil, which loses fertility over the medium term because of losing its capacity to drain away water", the researcher says.

To this must be added the possible long-term effects of using it for cultivated plants, the irrigation system and the water of the aquifer. The scientists say it is not only the quality of the water used that could harm the condition of the soil and the aquifer, but "the frequency and amount of the recycled water used in irrigation".

"It is assumed that the consequences only depend on the quality of the water, when in fact the other factors normally have a greater influence", says Palacios Díaz in this study, which is part of the TRAGUA project on Water Treatment and Recycling for sustainable management.

In relation to the negative long-term impacts of the excessive use of desalinated reclaimed water, the researchers propose "adapting the species and varieties watered, instead choosing types that are more tolerant of salinity and thereby reducing the cleaning requirements. Paradoxically, this adaptation has been implemented at the golf course studied, but the amount of water used has not been reduced", explains the scientist.

The study also calls for the amount and frequency of watering to be adjusted to the needs of the plants irrigated in the area in question, and for consumption amounts to be calculated using internationally-accepted experimental equations (evapotranspiration equations). "This is the only way of ensuring sustainable use of reclaimed water", concludes Palacios Díaz.

However, Spanish legislation does not address the sustainability criteria for reusing water. "Such criteria are poorly understood and, as a result, are generally not fulfilled", warns the researcher.

References:

Estévez, E.; Cabrera, M.C.; Fernández-Vera, J.R.; Hernández-Moreno, J.M.; Mendoza-Grimón, V.; Palacios-Díaz, M.P. "Twenty-five years using reclaimed water to irrigate a golf course in Gran Canaria" Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research 8, edición especial 2(95-101), 2010.

SINC | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.plataformasinc.es

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli
26.04.2017 | University of the Basque Country

nachricht New data unearths pesticide peril in beehives
21.04.2017 | Cornell University

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli

26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>