ALL NEWS

Salt Lake County says it has decreased water-use on its golf courses

Jul 1, 2022, 2:17 PM
Salt Lake County is working to make sure its golf courses don't use as much water in the drought co...
File: Salt Lake County says it has back water usage on its golf courses. Water watchers say Utahns have done a good job of cutting their usage this summer. (Martha Harris/KSL NewsRadio)
(Martha Harris/KSL NewsRadio)

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah — Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation says it is trying to use as little water as possible on its golf courses. It also says it has been able to decrease water use on most of its six municipally-owned golf courses over the last few years.

At Salt Lake County’s Mick Riley Golf Course in Murray, 94.58 million gallons of water were used in 2020, and 86.66 million gallons in 2021. That’s a decrease of about 8.37% or 7.92 million gallons of water.

The lead superintendent of Greens for Salt Lake County, Lou Smith, says the county was able to do that by changing how it waters. One thing Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation monitors is evapotranspiration.

“That’s how much the [grass/turf] loses during the day from evaporation and transpiration. So our goal is to replace that,” Smith said. “We have weather stations and computers that help us do that.”

He said they download that information every night. Additionally, each day they change how much they need to water the grass to replace what was lost.

“But at this point, with the drought, we’re only replacing about 80% at the most,” Smith said.

Austin Beam, first assistant superintendent of Greens, said they used to use a manual irrigation system at Mick Riley.

“So we were coming in, night watering, having no idea how much water you’re putting into the course because it’s all manually done,” Beam said.

He also said after they stopped watering manually, the amount of water they used dropped a lot.

Beam said additionally they save water by only watering the areas they need to. He said they only focus on watering areas that people use to play golf or are active on.

Should water be used to maintain golf courses?

Liz Sollis, associate division director of community engagement at Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation, said she thinks it’s important that Salt Lake County has golf courses. She said they serve as a place for people to connect and spend time together. Sollis said municipally-owned golf courses are able to offer cheaper prices than private country clubs and that makes golf more accessible.

“People across all socio-economic statuses can come out and learn how to golf,” she said.

University of Utah City Planning Professor Alessandro Rigolon thinks there are better ways to utilize Utah’s land and water than having golf courses.

He believes there are ways that would benefit more people in the community. For example, he said, when 22 people are playing soccer on a soccer field, they are taking up less space than if 22 people were playing golf.

Rigolon also said replacing golf courses, or parts of golf courses, with parks that have trees would be more beneficial for the environment. Trees require less water than grassy golf courses, they cool the environment more than grass and would be good for Utah’s air quality.

Beyond this, Rigolon said replacing golf courses with more native plants and natural lands would increase biodiversity.

“You know, when they say that, what’s the best time to plant a tree was yesterday, and the second-best time is today,” Rigolon said.

Salt Lake County does set aside sections of each of its golf courses that are just open spaces and aren’t watered. Sollis said this is to preserve natural environments.

Data on total irrigated turf/total acres for the six municipally-owned golf courses can be seen below:

  • Meadow Brook: 119 acres of irrigated turf/174 acres total
  • Mick Riley: 90 acres of irrigated turf/119 acres total
  • Mountain View: 146 acres of irrigated turf/156 acres total
  • Old Mill: 80 acres of irrigated turf/154 acres total
  • Riverbend: 118 acres of irrigated turf/178 acres total
  • South Mountain: 92 acres of irrigated turf/250 acres total

Devin Oldroyd contributed to this story.

Related

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

A balloon flies in the sky over Billings, Montana, U.S. February 1, 2023, in this picture obtained ...
Zachary Cohen, CNN

US military has shot down the Chinese spy balloon off US East Coast, US official says

The US military has shot down the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon over the Atlantic Ocean off the Eastern Seaboard, a US official said Saturday.
15 hours ago
The Goonies House...
Taylor Romine and Ralph Ellis, CNN

Man wanted for leaving a dead fish at ‘The Goonies’ house saved by Coast Guard in daring rescue

A man wanted by police in an incident at a house featured in "The Goonies" was the subject of a Coast Guard rescue when he was tossed from a stolen boat as it capsized, authorities said.
15 hours ago
SLCPD said the driver is fully cooperating with the investigation and the children received non-lif...
Chandler Holt

SLCPD makes arrest connected to fatal stabbing case

SLCPD announced the arrest of 26-year-old Ivy Chase Grant today. Grant was booked into Salt Lake County Metro Jail on a charge of obstruction of justice. 
15 hours ago
Troy Dunn, founder of the Location Foundation, appears on an episode of Dr. Phil. Photo credit: Des...
Mark Jones

Locator Foundation working to reunite loved ones with one another

The Locator Foundation is working to reunite family members who have become separated from one another and haven't been able to reconnect.
2 days ago
Martin Gold, a visiting scholar with the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation, says the Filibuster is critical...
Mark Jones

Filibuster is critical if country is to maintain compromise, expert says

A visiting scholar to the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation told Inside Sources Friday how important the filibuster is to compromise.
2 days ago
Two hands holding a green plant by the soil above empty pots...
Michelle Lee

Transplanting houseplants? Here are some tips!

SALT LAKE CITY – If you’re growing houseplants, there’s something you need to be familiar with, and that is transplanting. Transplanting houseplants is something you have to do every so often, depending on the type of plant. “Some houseplants will go for several years without needing it, and others need to be transplanted at least […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Salt Lake County says it has decreased water-use on its golf courses