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More and more recycled water projects are being developed to serve a variety of urban uses. Many of these projects include golf courses, which are often the largest water users, and which often have the most stringent water quality requirements of all the urban users.

A high level of TDS in the recycled water is the most common problem faced by golf courses using recycled water. Dealing with these problems has sometimes increased the cost of the recycled water beyond what the users had been led to expect. As the golf course industry has become aware of these problems, operators of golf courses have become more wary of accepting recycled water.

The Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency (MRWPCA) is planning an urban reuse project that would include serving as many as five golf courses. In order to determine how well recycled water will work on these courses, a three-year demonstration project is being performed. The project will be completed in the fall of 2005.

Over a period of three years recycled water is being used to irrigate one green, one adjacent turf area, and a nearby area landscaped with shrubs and flowers at a golf course on the Monterey Peninsula, located on the central coast of California. The rest of the golf course was watered with well water, which was the normal water supply. This allowed a direct side-by-side comparison to be made of turf and soil responses to the two types of water.

On a regular basis throughout the year, soil and water samples were taken and analyzed for a number of constituents, and records were kept of irrigation, fertilization, and other horticultural activities. Toward the end of the first year, in situ soil conductivity measurements also started being taken on a regular basis. More of this data was acquired during the second and third years of the project.

Data acquired from the demonstration project, along with data available from golf course industry sources, has been used to develop guidelines for monitoring soil salinity in order to determine the need for leaching with either recycled water or fresh water to maintain turf quality. This information, along with the data obtained from the first two and one-half years of the project and the initial conclusions are presented in this paper. The final conclusions, including data and knowledge gained from the leaching evaluation work in the final one-half year of the project, will be presented at the WEFTEC 2005 Conference.

This paper describes an approach that can be used to predict the need for periodic leaching of golf course turf to lower soil salinity levels. Identifying and addressing this potential problem during the design of an urban reuse project will be critical to the success of the project. The approach taken in this demonstration project can be used by other organizations to help accomplish this objective.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2005-01-01

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