Arizona Golf Courses to Use Recycled Wastewater for Irrigation

June 7, 2018

Two Phoenix courses are seeking to maintain their lawns with treated effluent over potable drinking water

Two Phoenix golf courses, Lookout Mountain Golf Club and Moon Valley Country Club, have partnered with the city of Phoenix to build a pipeline pulling recycled wastewater from the Arizona Canal to their respective courses. The pipeline is expected to be completed by the end of 2018 and long-term will reduce the privately-owned courses’ water costs by approximately 40%, compared to groundwater which currently maintains their greens.

According to a 2016 report by the Arizona Department of Water Resources, nearly three-quarters of water used by all Arizona golf courses comes from the same sources as drinking water. Furthermore, a report by the Arizona State Climate Office says the state is undergoing its 21st year of long-term drought. The decision by the two Phoenix-area golf courses to switch to treated wastewater over drinking water was largely due to rising financial restraints, and with an initial investment of $9.5 million–with the city of Phoenix footing one-third of the bill–the project is expected to have long-term benefit, according to Cronkite News Arizona PBS.

Arizona’s water sources are 48% groundwater, 14% Colorado River water and 10% surface water, Jeff Tannler, active management director for the Arizona Department of Water Resources told Cronkite News. If more private courses switch their source from drinking water to treated wastewater, more groundwater could be protected. 

“The effluent use has increased over the years as more golf courses have the infrastructure available to them for effluent or reclaimed use,” Tannler said. “We do realize that not all golf courses have access to reclaimed or effluent water supplies.”