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 Combination of Resistance Genes Offers Better Protection for Wheat against Powdery Mildew
22.01.2018 | Universität Zürich

nachricht New study shows producers where and how to grow cellulosic biofuel crops
17.01.2018 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

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: Optical Nanoscope Allows Imaging of Quantum Dots

Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.

Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rutgers scientists discover 'Legos of life'

23.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Seabed mining could destroy ecosystems

23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Transportable laser

23.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>