Last week I had the opportunity to attend a water symposium in beautiful Austin, Texas. The program was sponsored by the Texas Water Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to protect and conserve water through public education. Representatives from the state Legislature, municipalities, water districts, agricultural producers, and manufacturing users were in attendance. Also in attendance was a group of golf industry professionals that included several golf course superintendents, GCSAA field staff and a turfgrass professor from Texas Tech University.
One interesting theme during the presentations was the idea that communities have to shift their focus to conserving water outside versus inside homes and businesses. A variety of water-conservation measures have been implemented to reduce water consumption inside, so the next area that regulators will look to for savings is outside. This means added scrutiny toward green spaces like homeowner lawns and golf courses.
Results from a 2014 public opinion study indicate that water conservation is the biggest environmental problem in Texas. According to survey data, Texas consumers think golf courses use more water than public parks, swimming pools, small businesses, or farmers and ranchers. Similar public views are not unique to Texas. Golf courses throughout the region face negative perceptions when it comes to water use. Attending public forums is a great way to address misinformation and showcase the innovative ways golf courses make every drop of water count. Consider getting involved with your local government to make sure golf courses are part of the solution and not the problem.
The Green Section has assembled two digital collections on water use on golf courses that will help other better understand how golf is managing water. These collections are found here.
Source: John Daniels (firstname.lastname@example.org)