Model for Sustainability: Las Vegas Golf Courses
By mustang6560 on 4/26/11
Las Vegas is located in the middle of a desert. Yet, Sin City has some of the nicest golf courses in the world - it is even considered a golfing destination.
If you've ever wondered how this was possible - considering Las Vegas only gets an average 4.5 inches of rain per year - know this. At a typical golf course, it takes 2,507 gallons of water per four-some per day to maintain the lush fairways and greens. That's 139 gallons per person per round.
To make golf possible in Las Vegas, you have to irrigate the dusty soil with the same amount of water that California's Imperial Valley requires to grow much of the nation's winter vegetable crop. But if the water-requirement for Las Vegas golf courses is astonishing, it actually contains some good news.Since the city's only water supply - Lake Mead - is nearly half empty and the federal government strictly enforces how much water the city is allowed to take, they've had to change the way people use and think about water usage from top to bottom.
To cut down on water usage, golf courses now water using "re-use" water instead of purified water and they tried to eliminate as much grass on the course as possible. This not only saves water but it also gives the course a distinct desert-feel. In the article I read about this issue, they used Angel Park as the example. 15 years ago, they were using 640 million gallons of purified water per day to water the course. They've cut that 40% so they are only using 376 million gallons and they no longer use drinking water.
The city also implemented new laws that made it illegal for new homes to have a front lawn. In fact, the water authority is paying people $40k to take out their front lawn if they already have one. That's not a bad gig. It's also illegal to for your sprinkler system to spray water on the sidewalk and to water your car without a hose nozzle.
This is a start, but Las Vegas sounds like it still has a long way to go. Maybe they should try to invent a different type of grass that requires less water to grow because using 376 million gallons is still a lot of water. Vegas has over 60 courses, so as a whole, the courses require somewhere north of 22 billion gallons per day.
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