Instead of pumping fresh groundwater, the Live Oak, Fla. club is now irrigating its nine-hole course with the water made available to it through a $130,000 project that was paid for by the local water management district and the city. Construction began in April and the new irrigation line went live in mid-July.
Golfers in Live Oak, Fla. can enjoy green fairways while they support water conservation, thanks to a recent reclaimed water/irrigation project formed between Suwannee Country Club, the City of Live Oak and the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD), a Live Oak-based entity that serves 15 surrounding north-central Florida counties,the Suwannee Democrat of Live Oak reported.
Located approximately five miles east of downtown Live Oak (a city of just under 7,000 located midway between Jacksonville and Tallahassee), the project has allowed Suwannee CC, a semi-private club that opened in 1926, to utilize reclaimed water to irrigate its nine-hole golf course, instead of pumping fresh groundwater, the Democrat reported. The switch has resulted in water savings of more than 100,000 gallons per day, which equates to the water in approximately five in-ground swimming pools.
The project rerouted the country club’s irrigation system from groundwater as the primary irrigation source to the City of Live Oak’s reclaimed water distribution system, the Democrat reported. With the new irrigation hookup, groundwater would only be used as a backup in the event of a failure of the reclaimed system.
“This project showcases the ability of our small communities to utilize alternative water sources similar to our more densely populated neighbors to the east and south, while still maintaining our rural way of living,” SRWMD Executive Director Hugh Thomas said in a release.
Reused water connections are often limited for rural communities because public utilities rarely extend out past the city limits, the Democrat noted, but this project is a unique exception. Currently, the city provides reclaimed water to Camp Weed, a local conference center and meeting/retreat property, and the Suwannee Parks and Recreation Department, with the remaining water being sprayed at the city’s spray field. But the Suwannee CC project better utilizes the excess reclaimed water, it was noted.
“The City of Live Oak is always looking for ways to conserve and utilize our water resources,” Mayor Frank Davis said in the release. “We have been working with others on this project for several years, and we are excited to see it completed.”
Funded by the district’s Regional Initiative Valuing Environmental Resources (RIVER) grant program, the project cost just less than $130,000, with approximately $125,000 paid by the SRWMD and about $5,000 paid by the city, the Democrat reported. The project supports year-round water conservation and water shortage ordinances that the city adopted in 2012.
Construction began in April and the new irrigation line went live in mid-July, the Democrat reported.
“Our water is a finite resource and these projects help to ensure that we have an adequate water supply now and for the next 100 years,” Thomas added. “Finding innovative ways to reuse our water is a goal we have for all of our communities; I expect we will see more projects like this on the horizon.”