October 2012

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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Page 29 of 48

Irrigation&Drainage | ByKlaus Reichardt tion. By doing so, they can help mitigate expensive water bills and, in some cases, quite significantly. WHERE THE WATER GOES Sports turf facilities have a unique chal- lenge when it comes to water. The water necessary to nourish turf and related land- scaping at these locations is typically a key concern as opposed to most facilities where the bulk of water is used in restrooms.* However, some golf courses, which in many ways are in the same water-intensive situations as sports turf facilities, have taken steps to help considerably reduce water consumption and related costs. Some of these steps include: • Plant native grass varieties and vegeta- tion that are in harmony with the local cli- mate. Typically, these require less water and can better tolerate dry periods and poorer quality water. • If possible, reduce the amount of turf installed at the facility. • Switch from overhead irrigation to drip irrigation where possible. • Add more mulch to flower beds and (and money) H shrub areas. • Group vegetation with similar water at your indoor facilities OW'S THIS FOR A SAVINGS? A 19-story office building in Portland, Oregon retrofitted all of its restrooms with water-reducing toilets, urinals, and faucets. The retrofit was part of an upgrade not only to save water, but also to pursue LEED-EB (for existing buildings) certification—a personally desired goal of the building's sustainable-focused owner, John Russel. with low-flow systems and 37 urinals and 114 faucets were fitted with flush kits or aerators. During the first 9 months after the upgrade, the building saw a 21% reduction in water use. The reduction was far more than anticipated. But, the cost savings were even more Altogether, 114 toilets were replaced amazing. The total cost of the retrofit was $37,000. However, the building owner en- joyed a savings of $16,000 in related water and sewer costs in less than a year. The total retrofit will pay for itself in about 2 years or 30 SportsTurf | October 2012 sooner if water costs continue to escalate— and thereafter, the savings will become a dividend, essentially putting money in the bank. In addition to office buildings, all types of facilities, including sports, parks, and recreation centers as well as airports and schools, are now looking into these water and money saving upgrades to replicate this success. As water costs continue to escalate for years to come, all facility managers and owners must take any and all steps needed to reduce their buildings' water consump- needs. • Install computerized irrigation sys- tems that can evaluate climate conditions as well as turf soil dryness so irrigation is only performed when and as needed. • Minimize water runoff. • Begin collecting and using rain water and recycling clubhouse "graywater" for ir- rigation purposes. actly where water is used throughout the facility and where it can be saved. • Train staff to become water-conscious. Sports turf facility managers and owners should consult with landscaping profes- sionals who specialize in what is called xeriscape landscaping. The ultimate goal of xeriscape landscaping is to reduce water consumption via plant selection, landscape design, and other measures. In some of the driest areas of the country, this strategy has proven to be very successful. IN-HOUSE SAVINGS While the bulk of the water a sports turf • Conduct water audits to determine ex- Image ©

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