Golf courses in the face of drought in Vienna

To deal with the historic drought situation in the county of Vienne, restrictions on water use apply to farmers and citizens, but the bay is exempt.

To respond to the drought, Viennese County has put itself on high alert. In mid-May, the prefecture took measures to reduce water consumption: now, it is prohibited to irrigate lawns, green spaces, vegetable gardens and agricultural crops between 11 am and 6 pm. But the county ordinance did not mention golf courses, which are exempt from these restrictions, yet they consume large amounts of water.

In France, more than 70% of golf courses use water for irrigation in natural environments. 10% use water from the public network as there is no other solution available. On average, an average of 26,000 m3 is consumed annually for a 9-hole section.

Mignaloux Golf Course has not waited for water consumption restrictions to save precious fluids, due to very high bills. “We are a private golf course, not public, I would like to point out Steve Nikolai, Director of Menalo Bay. When we have bills, and deficits in consumption, it’s to our face. The drinking water system is not used but the runoff water collected in a pond in the middle of the golf course. “The pond has collapsed, and when there is no more water in the ponds, we will not be able to water anymore.”

Claude Chevalier, President of the Gulf of Poitiers Chalons, guarantees irrigation to a minimum, and this is already before restrictions are put in place, to avoid bills that can reach up to 10,000 euros: “Our policy is to keep it green. If we let it burn, that’s a lot of money, so we water the departures a bit to stay within the prefecture ordinance.”

For your golf head, if the greens haven’t been watered for a month or two, “You have to give the whole land back, and that costs a fortune.” A question that is not only aesthetic: “You can’t play golf if the greens are burnt, the ball must be able to roll on it properly Claude Chevalier explains.

The greens of Mignaloux Golf Course have turned brown due to drought. “There’s not much you can do about it, except water the greens a little at night to freshen the ground.”Steve Nikolai, director of Menalux Bay, explains. To adapt to the drought, the company has invested in machines to puncture and aerate the soil and enhance rainwater intrusion. It has also switched to more drought-resistant herbs that require less water and have deeper roots.

“Our policy is to make golfers understand that what they see on TV, green American golf courses, is not possible here. It costs a lot of money, and with drought we can’t play golf like we used to. », Steve Nikolai, Mignaloux Golf Course Manager.

In 2006, the French Golf Federation signed a water charter with the Ministries of Environment and Sports, to limit its water use in the event of an order restricting water use. In the event of a high alert threshold, according to the charter, irrigation of departures is prohibited, but watering of greens (2% of the average area of ​​\u200b\u200bthe golf course) remains authorized to ensure the maintenance of economic activity. golf courses. Subsequently, the 2019-2024 ‘Golf and the Environment’ framework agreement was signed to promote eco-friendly golf courses.

According to this document, in the event of an enhanced crunch threshold, irrigation of golf courses, with the exception of greens, is prohibited. : ” However, greens can be maintained, except in the event of a shortage of drinking water, by watering “to what is absolutely necessary” between 8:00 pm and 8:00 am, which cannot account for more than 30% of normal volumes.

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