Saturday, August 27, 2016

Water Supply for Irrigation System

On top of record breaking heat and humidity this summer we are also experiencing a shortage of water for our irrigation system. The water level in our irrigation lake is quite low. It is very noticeable when playing holes #1 and #2. Especially interesting is the "shelf" closest to #1 green. It's my understanding that this was going to be the original location of #1 green. When it was decided to move the location of the green the soil was not removed. Here's a picture from 2011 when the water was pumped out of the pond for irrigation repairs.

This "shelf" causes major algae growth because of the low levels of water above it which increases the amount of sunlight reaching the soil. More importantly, it takes up approximately 600,000 gallons of usable water.  According to a survey done in 2011 there is 1.2 million gallons of usable water in the lake. Since the intake pipe for the pump station sits above the lake floor we do not consider the first few feet of water as usable for irrigation as only the water above the intake pipe can be sucked in to the pumps. Currently we have about 4 nights of water in the pond if our wells are not working.

The pond is fed from four wells as seen on this map.

Originally the wells labeled #2 and #15 were built and well #4 was a test well that was not in use. During the creek project of 2011 well #14 was added. Due to it's close location to the well on #15 it did not increase our water supply but does allow faster uptake of water from the aquifer that is below both these wells. Later in 2011 a water shortage occurred and the decision was made to add a pump to well #4 and use that as an additional water source. An unexpected result of this was the drying up of well #2 which was the main well for our irrigation supply. Since well #4 is smaller in diameter than the other wells it actually produces less water so there has been a net loss in overall water supply for the irrigation system. I am unsure if stopping the use of well #4 would eventually lead to well #2 be viable again. It may be something that has to be done for several years which we cannot do right now.

We are currently working with a geologist to determine what options we have for gaining sufficient water for our irrigation needs. Dredging the pond and removing the "shelf" is one option. This would give us 1- 2 additional nights of water storage and improve the quality of the water in the pond. The other option is to dig an additional well or multiple wells. Also, installing monitoring devices on existing wells would help us to make sure the use of these wells is as efficient as possible.  Doing so would also extend the viability of these wells for a longer time.

Until we get some nice soaking rain the golf course may turn brown in certain areas. Greens and tees after aerification next week will be a priority for watering. Let's hope for rain and cooler weather soon! For now enjoy the extra distance off the tee from the firm playing surfaces.

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