Is watering golf courses really allowed despite restrictions on water consumption?

France follows a dry diet, but golfers can still push their balls into a well-watered green. While water restrictions are on the rise in France, several elected officials from the Nupes (New Popular, Ecological and Social Union) have deplored double standards in the government’s drought-fighting directives: “ISwimming pools are forbidden to fill, but golf courses must reduce their consumption by 20% and water between 7 pm and 9 am. says on twitter Hendrik Duffy, LFI MP for Marseille.

In BFM, Eric Beul makes clear his criticism of government measures. “In anti-drought decisions, there is an exception to allow watering of greens,” Announcing the chosen one. Does the mayor of Grenoble (Isère) say true or “fake”?

I contacted franceinfo, the Ministry of Environmental Transformation remember this Golf courses are not exempt from restrictions. But it does not negate the existence of less drastic instructions to reduce water consumption for greens, that is, the area with the shortest grass on the path.Rolling around the hole. These measures are described in A guide published by the Ministry in June (PDF) that specifies, by alert level, the perimeter of authorized water consumption activities.

Procedures for Restricting Water Use for Watering Golf Courses, published in June 2022 by the Ministry of Environmental Transformation.  (Ministry of Environmental Transformation)

At the first level, a ‘vigilance’ threshold is recommended, and it is only advised to increase the awareness of golf course operators about water savings. At the second level, the “alarm” level, watering is prohibited from 8 am to 8 pm, with the aim of reducing water consumption by 15-30%. For the next threshold, ‘Improved Alert’, the volumes consumed are required to be reduced by at least 60% plus fairway irrigation is required, i.e. the area of ​​land between the tee where the first shot is and the green, the area of ​​turf at the end of the course where the golf hole is.

Finally, at the maximum alert level, the “crisis” threshold, it is allowed to water the greens only for water consumption that cannot be more than 30% of the volumes of water normally used. The Ministry of Environmental Transformation specifies, however, that in case of necessity, Conservatives are fully prepared to ban irrigation [des greens] If it seems necessary to them.”

Therefore golf courses benefit from more favorable water use conditions than other activities. At the “crisis” level, greens can still be watered, but, for example, it is forbidden to fill a private swimming pool or irrigate crops for farmers.

‘There is a real economic interest’ To justify such an exemption, declares to France Info Remy Durbeau, president of the French Association of Golf Course Maintenance Officers (AGREV). “Without water, the green dies in three days and it takes three months to regrow. However, a cycle without green is like an ice rink without ice, it must be closed,” Gerard Rogier, Territories Manager, warns the environment and equipment at the French Golf Federation. Activity “700 golf courses employing 15,000 people in France” After that the threat is made, the director insists.

>> Drought: ‘If we don’t have water anymore, we’ll have no more work’, golf courses defend detracting from the water portion of the courses

The economic impact also highlighted by the Ministry of Environmental Transformation: “Golf courses are an economic and tourist activity. A closed golf course means dozens of unemployed employees and the consequent loss of tourism to the region.”

“If there is a problem [d’emploi]the state can support stop [golfs] By creating underemployment, a reaction to franceinfo Hendrik Davi. But we won’t do anything ecologically if you blackmail the job. I’ve worked on IPCC scenarios: when there is no more water for farming, there is no more for golfing.”

According to a Senate report, the total consumption of all golf courses in 2002 represented the annual consumption of a city of 500,000 people (36 million cubic meters), cannot be neglected. The deputy adds. a A study published by the French Golf Federation (PDF) For its part, it estimates this consumption at about 29 million cubic meters of water in 2010. Global warming is violent in its effects, Get acquainted with Gerard Rogier, from the cliffs, But efforts have since been made at major golf courses with a reduction in water consumption of about 30%.

For Guillaume Martin, an energy mobility and climate engineer interviewed MarianThe controversy over watering vegetables is a symptom of society “He didn’t realize the extent of global warming. s“To say that we are likely to pay more for our food because of the drought and its impact on the agricultural sector, and at the same time we preferred to play golf … Of course, this raises questions”, Judge the engineer.

If the reduction in the benefits of golf course irrigation can be justified by the conservation of employment, the long-term preservation and acceptability of such a measure in the face of climate change remain in question.

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