Prestwick Golf Club in Woodbury and Oneka Ridge Golf Course in Hugo are keeping their greens irrigated with storm water collection systems.
Officials at a pair of Minnesota golf courses say they’ve come up with a better way to keep their greens green than pumping millions of gallons of groundwater by using storm water, the Associated Press reported.
Prestwick Golf Club in Woodbury has a new storm water pond that collects runoff from a nearby road. Superintendent Dave Kazmierczak told Minnesota Public Radio that tapping the pond for his sprinkler system could cut his groundwater use by a quarter or even a third. The Department of Natural Resources says Prestwick has used an average of about 40 million gallons a year over the past decade, the AP reported.
“So for everybody it’s just a win-win situation,” Kazmierczak said.
Across Minnesota, around 500 golf courses tap billions of gallons of groundwater each year. Generally that hasn’t been seen as a problem, but groundwater levels are dropping in certain areas of the state, including the northern and eastern Twin Cities suburbs where Prestwick is located, the AP reported.
A similar project is under way at the Oneka Ridge Golf Course in Hugo, another northeast suburb. Oneka expects to reduce its groundwater pumping by about 15 million gallons a year, although that started out as only a secondary goal, said Kyle Axtell, water resource specialist for the Rice Creek Watershed District. Oneka’s storm water pond was built to trap runoff and prevent it from carrying phosphorous pollution into Bald Eagle Lake, but Axtell said lower groundwater use is now seen as one of the main benefits, the AP reported.
“There’s not a course that you couldn’t do this on,” said Jack MacKenzie, executive director of the Minnesota Golf Course Superintendents’ Association. Directing storm water to golf courses will clean up lakes, put less strain on aquifers and put some of that would-be runoff into the ground where it’s needed, he said.
Golf courses aren’t the only places where storm water can be reused. A few communities are using storm water to keep baseball and soccer fields green or to irrigate public landscapes. The Minnesota Twins have an elaborate system for reusing storm water at Target Field, and a system is being designed for the new St. Paul Saints Stadium, the AP reported.