The public company responsible for managing water resources on the western Costa del Sol, Acosol, currently irrigates more than 45 golf courses with reclaimed water, a measure that allows companies dedicated to this sports practice in the region to guarantee maintenance in the coming months despite the drought.
The exceptional drought declaration decreed last Friday, March 11, by the Junta de Andalucía on the western Costa del Sol does not affect the golf courses in the region, according to the president of the Royal Andalusian Golf Federation, Pablo Mansilla. The regional document collects the Prohibition of irrigation with “water resources suitable for human consumption”something that the fields have not done for years, he assured.
In this way, he has pointed out that golf courses use for irrigation “regenerated water, wells or are supplied by a community of irrigators”, although he has opted for “more inspections and surveillance” so that the decreed measures are complied with.
The president of the Royal Federation has pointed out that on the Costa del Sol “most golf courses are irrigated with regenerated water from Acosol”, for which he has highlighted that “in principle the drought is not affecting us”, but there is “an alert because even that regenerated water can be restricted, for which we are very concerned”. According to him, the region concentrates the largest number of golf courses in Europe -including Sotogrande-, adding 73 and 1,314 holes.
At this point, he has indicated that golf courses are “living beings” that “die if they are not watered, so” recovering them is extremely expensive “, as well as stressing that companies in the sector have spent years “researching and investing in technology to make irrigation as efficient as possible”. In addition, he pointed out that “public administrations must bet on increasing the number of regenerated water pipes so that 100” of the fields are connected to this resource.
Even so, Mansilla has urged public bodies to have a “special consideration” with golf courses if the drought situation continues and “measures are toughened”, a request that has been made based on the importance of golf tourism both on the Costa del Sol and in the Andalusian community in terms of generating “wealth”.
In this regard, he recalled that the The golf segment generates “direct income of 2,200 million euros in Andalusia and 55,000 direct and indirect jobs”, of which “95% are full-time and indefinite”. In addition, this tourism, whose high season is established between “February and June and October and November”, moves about “650,000 tourists a year” on the Costa del Sol and contributes to “deseasonalizing” the tourism industry, he stressed.
For his part, the CEO of Acosol, Carlos Cañavate, stressed that the public company currently irrigates “more than 45 golf courses” on the Costa del Sol with reclaimed water, a reuse that involves the application of measures that contribute to “the conservation of the environment and savings for the reserves of the La Concepción reservoir and the aquifers”.
Cañavate has pointed out that during the past year Acosol supplied “5.7 cubic hectometres of reclaimed water”, a service that began to provide in 1992; and explained that this – purified by the wastewater treatment plants – “It should be considered as a resource and not as waste., reason why he has remarked that his treatment allows “to have a high-quality reclaimed water which is used for other functions, with special relevance to the irrigation of large green areas such as golf courses and gardens”.
In this way, the queried fields ensure supply with reclaimed water or count on it for the future if water resources are scarce, as is the case of the Atalaya golf course, located in Estepona. Its director, Andrés Sánchez, has declared that “we are already buying recycled water to fill the lakes and maintain them”, as well as studying “other kinds of herbs so that the greens can withstand the low quality of recycled water and less irrigation”. Thus, it ensures that “90% of the water we use is recycled.”
The director of the Azata golf course in Estepona, Agustín Alonso, has assured that “we are not suffering from the drought in the sense that we have recycled water with which we can irrigate”, despite qualifying that “it rains is what we all need because our reserves are running out.” As indicated, the field is supplied “with recycled and swamped water that we collect from the rain and store it.” In addition, it has been applying other measures such as “irrigation control” for years.
The director of the El Chaparral golf course, located in Mijas, Domingo Gavira, has indicated that in his case “drought implies little because “I work with 100% recycled water”, a resource for which he has assured that the company has been betting for many years. In this way, he has indicated that “I am not going to change any practice that I was doing previously and I am going to follow the line that I have up to now”.
The director of Mijas Golf, Lorenzo Pérez, has pointed out that “we irrigate with recycled water, and Acosol does not have to purify the sewage, whether there is a drought or not”, for which he has assured that “for now nothing has affected us in the supply ”. Added to this are other measures to optimize resources such as implementation of “a summer lawn, which needs 75% less water and thanks to that we don’t irrigate even half of it, as well as an irrigation control system”.