Mill Valley (Calif.) Golf Course is changing irrigation practices during the drought to help reduce water usage. While the Marin Municipal Water District’s rules limit golf course watering to greens and tees only, an exception is being made to prevent the course’s fairways from dying out entirely and having to be replaced.
With less than a year of water remaining in its seven reservoirs in the Mount Tamalpais watershed, the Marin (Calif.) Municipal Water District has approved mandatory use restrictions for its 191,000 central and southern residents, the Marin Independent Journal reported. The rules seek to cut water use by 40% compared to average use during the three-year period of 2018-2020. Restrictions include limiting outdoor sprinkler use to two days per week, banning at-home car washing and other rules.
The same rules apply for the 4,000 businesses, industrial customers and government agencies in the district, the Independent Journal reported. Recognizing that certain types of businesses, such as golf courses and landscaping, rely more heavily on water use to sustain themselves, the district is working to develop alternative conservation plans that still meet the conservation target.
Mill Valley’s municipal golf course is one example. The district’s rules limit golf course watering to greens and tees only, but the utility left open the door for alternative options to reach 40% conservation, the Independent Journal reported. Using about 12 million gallons of water in 2020, the Mill Valley Golf Course makes up nearly half of the city’s entire outdoor irrigation and water use, said Tony Boyd, a city public works official.
To prevent the course’s fairways from dying out entirely and having to be replaced, the district is allowing the city to water them as long as it conserves by 40% at the city’s 42 irrigation meters at local parks, athletic fields and playgrounds, Boyd told the Independent Journal.
“Our main thing is that we don’t have to replace entire fields at the end of the summer,” Boyd said. “Just try and sustain them is our main goal.”
Two other golf courses have agreed to similar alternative plans, and the district will be tracking their water use monthly to ensure compliance, Jeanne Mariani-Belding, district communications manager told the Independent Journal.
“Some are reducing irrigation overall to the roughs, some are removing sprinkler heads,” she said.
Nearly 30 alternative conservation plans, also called variances, have been approved by the district for other businesses, Mariani-Belding told the Independent Journal.
“Some are changing business practices to reduce water use overall, and others, including companies that deal with deck and hardscape pressure washing, are using recycled water instead,” Mariani-Belding said.