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 Advance warning system via cell phone app: Avoiding extreme weather damage in agriculture
12.07.2018 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF) e.V.

nachricht Fishy chemicals in farmed salmon
11.07.2018 | University of Pittsburgh

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: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Research finds new molecular structures in boron-based nanoclusters

13.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Algae Have Land Genes

13.07.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>