NEWTON, Kan. (KSNW) – As the drought stretches across much of Kansas, keeping the greens green at Sand Creek Station is not a problem for the award-winning course.
They can use up to 600,000 gallons of reclaimed water a day.
“It saves about $200,000 to $250,000 a year if I had to guess with the price of water today,” said Chris Tuohey.
Tuohey is the Kemper Regional Manager for the Sand Creek Station golf course.
“When the city constructed the golf course, you have got to give them a lot of credit. They tied in the wastewater treatment plant,” said Tuohey. “With water that is, basically, comes from households. And it filters down through the wastewater treatment plant, and then it basically filters down Sand Creek, and it actually gets drawn into a retention pond.”
From the retention pond, the water is put into the sprinkler system. And, with a continued drought in much of Kansas, Tuohey says the process is a forward-thinking best practice.
Newton is not alone. Hays has been using reclaimed water as well.
“Our water conservation program is as good as it gets,” said Jason Riegel, the water resources reclamation superintendent with the City of Hays. “We beneficially reuse about 20% of our water on an annual basis.”
Riegel says the local golf course and sports complex both use reclaimed water.
“In Hays, we are either in a drought or waiting on the next one,” said Riegel. “So we are so proactive out here. But as soon as a drought comes, we have to have those resources. Any gallon that we save is another gallon we can use in the down times.”
Riegel says on some days, the city can reuse up to 75% of its water or more. He also says the reclaimed water is not free to treat, but it’s still a monetary saving as well as a water saving.
“But if it’s strictly to keep plants alive and keep golf courses looking nice, it doesn’t require so much treatment,” said Riegel.
At Sand Creek, Tuohey says there was an initial startup cost for getting the water to the golf course area and a retention pond. But he also says there is money savings as well as water savings.
“I think what you’re going to see is water is just a very rare commodity now, and it’s getting even more scarce,” said Tuohey. “I think you are going to see, especially in the municipal space, in the golf business, you are going to start seeing golf courses doing this.”