Water Use

Water is a shared and scarce resource.  Despite the perennially wet weather, the high population density in England means that there is actually less water available per person than in some Mediterranean countries such as Italy or Spain. 

Water is also needed by our wildlife and overuse of water can leave too little in lakes and rivers to sustain aquatic life in summer.  In addition, golf clubs are charged for every drop of water they use and any water saved is a cost saving to clubs.  Wasting hot water will also increase golf club costs through increased energy bills.


Golf clubs use a lot of water to irrigate the golf course, to provide shower facilities, toilets, food preparation and cleaning and water efficiency measures could have a big impact on water use.

1. Water in the clubhouse


2. Water use on the golf course

Golf courses have a very narrow water tolerance, requiring enough to maintain grass growth but not so much that playing surfaces become waterlogged and unplayable.  During times of heavy rain, water is drained quickly away from playing surfaces and diverted off the golf course into the wider landscape while, in drought conditions, playing surfaces are irrigated to maintain grass growth. 

These two parts of the golf course water balance are all too often not joined up.  To create a more sustainable water balance, some of the water drained from the course when there is an excess could be stored and used to irrigate the golf course in times of drought.

Water is also essential in rinsing off grass clippings, dirt and chemical residues from golf course maintenance equipment.  This washdown water is potentially damaging to the wider environment and must be treated before being released.

This Water Resources section looks at:

Irrigation - alternative sources of irrigation water and ideas for reducing water use

Drainage– maximising the environmental value of drainage systems

Pollution– essential measures to prevent water pollution

Read more... 
3. Water legislation

Water legislation provides guidance on how much water we can safely remove from the environment and from which sources, which pollutants we can safely discharge and in which quantities and the working practices that must be put in place to prevent accidents and spillages and the treatment needed to ensure our wastewater can be safely absorbed by the environment.

This list of water legislation should be considered comprehensive but not exhaustive.  All legislation information is correct as of January 2011.  Legislation changes regularly and golf clubs should check the news section of the greener golf website for information on important changes.