by Tim Earley, managing director of Waste2Water Europe Ltd
The need to install a Recycling Wash-Off system to comply with the new Groundwater Regulations has been well publicised in the past and a significant number of clubs have already done so. However, the additional benefit of continuously re-using the same water, which saves a massive 90+ % in wash water usage, has now come to the fore as the impact of the drought conservation measures become clear.
The Emergency water conservation measures being implemented in the south east of England have been well publicised. The hosepipe and sprinkler bans recently imposed had little impact on golf courses and sports grounds, however, the recent Drought Order approved by the Environment Minister, Ian Pearson, on behalf of Sutton and East Surrey Water Company, now directly affects the activities of golf courses and other sports activities in this area.
The Sutton & East Surrey Drought Order prohibited, with effect from Saturday 27th May, 2006, the use within its area of supply, of any water supplied by the Company (whether by meter or not) for a wide range purposes.
Prohibited uses include watering by hosepipe or similar apparatus of public parks and gardens, golf clubs, cricket pitches, bowling greens and other sports pitches whether natural or artificial. Washing of golf course equipment & vehicles and yards by hosepipe is prohibited and mechanical and automatic vehicle washes are also banned, but those with recycling facilities are exempt.
Anyone breaking this order may face a fine of up to £1,000.
58 golf courses and thousands of other sports and recreational facilities are drastically affected by the Sutton and East Surrey Drought Order, and this will increase at least threefold should, as looks very likely, Southern Water and Mid Kent Water also impose their recently granted Drought Orders. Add the Drought Order application recently submitted by Thames Water, affecting 5 million of their 8 million consumers, and it is fair to say things are getting serious in the south east!
The threat of the imposition of ever more essential drought restrictions has brought an increased urgency and focus on the need to install a Recycling Wash-Off System at golf courses and Local Authority grounds maintenance depots throughout the South East. Equipment cannot be properly maintained if it cannot be cleaned.
The Waste2Water Recycling Wash-Off System is fully authorised for use in drought restricted areas as it reduces wash-off water usage by a massive 90+%.
Simon Osbourne, course manager at Cuddington Golf Club, Banstead, Surrey, recently installed a Waste2Water Recycling Wash-Off System. Simon commented, “We received notification from Sutton and East Surrey Water that we could no longer wash our equipment off after the 27th May, and that the ban was expected to last for at least 6 months! I advised them that we had recently installed a Waste2Water System and they were delighted. The water company authorised us to continue washing-off as normal and advised us to put a prominent “Recycled Water” sign up to avoid potential conflict with neighbours due to us continuing to use water when they are not allowed, which is particularly important as we have houses less then 50 metres from our wash-off area. The system is superb and has saved the day.”
Many golf clubs in the south east are able to continue washing-off as usual, following their recent installation of a Waste2Water system. Dan McGrath, course manager, North Foreland Golf Club, North Foreland, Kent, installed a Waste2Water system installed in February. “We are right in the middle of the worst hit drought region in the UK and are certain the Waste2Water system will pay for itself during the coming season.” commented Dan, “this system has not only ensured we comply with the new groundwater regulations but also enables us to carry on washing-off as normal during the drought.”
If you are in a drought restricted / threatened area installing a Waste2Water Recycling Wash-Off System is the answer to ensure your wash-off operations can continue, irrespective of the drought conservation measures.
The Worst Drought for 100 years
According to the Environment Agency 2006 Drought Prospects Report the south east of England is facing its worst drought for 100 years after one of the driest periods on record. The period from November 2004 to January 2006 has been the second driest since records began in 1914 and, making matters much worse, water consumption has increased massively in the intervening period.
The Environment Agency are extremely concerned about the impact of drought in the South East of the country, particularly Sussex and Kent. River flows have set new record low flows in these areas with the river Medway in Kent at only 32%. Bewl Reservoir water level is at only 37% of average.
If anyone thinks golf courses have been ‘missed’ in this debate, think again. As one leading newspaper recently highlighted, “South east England now has less water per person than Egypt. The major difference though, between the south east region of the UK and Egypt is that Surrey, Sussex and Kent have 160 golf courses, each using up to 7 million litres of water a season and Surrey, for example, has 2,000 swimming pools.”