New Mexico is located in the high desert Southwest, and over the past several years has experienced the worst drought conditions recorded in the State's history. During a drought, the importance of sustainable water supply becomes paramount. In order to improve the understanding of sustainable water in our area of Northern New Mexico, Charlie Nylander recently scripted, narrated and produced an educational video film that describes the major elements of sustainable water in the Espanola Basin. The film was funded by Los Alamos County on behalf of the Espanola Basin Regional Issues Forum (EBRIF), ad ad hoc forum of county, city, and tribal governments located within the hydrologic basin described as the Espanola Basin. The film has been distributed for use by all fourteen of the participating governments that are members of EBRIF, a government-to-government forum that Mr. Nylander has provided consulting services for over the past nine years.
The film comprehensively describes the three major elements of sustainable water as: wet water (location of the water resource); water rights (legal administration of water use); and water infrastructure (man-made and natural systems that function to provide water production, storage, conveyance, treatment, and use). In addition, numerous water management topics are discussed, including water conservation which is illustrated with The Club at Las Campanas’ 2010 - 2012 golf course water conservation initiatives. Click here to view the video.
In the spring of 2016 the Agronomy Team partnered with the USGA, NMSU, The Toro Company and Rainbird on a three year subsurface tee irrigation study. The study involved installing subsurface irrigation systems under thirteen existing tees. The existing tees were irrigated with part circle overhead sprinklers that were prone to wind drift and over spray. The goal of the study is to rate the performance of the tees, reduce disease pressure and record water usage in the hopes that compared to conventional sprinkler systems there is substantial water savings. Check back for study results.
Sub-surface irrigation system.
The turf reduction project returned approximately 40 acres of previously irrigated turf to native desert. Turf reduction projects have become more prevalent in the past few years all across the desert Southwest. The Club at Las Campanas' turf reduction project was monitored by Chet Williams of Nickalaus Design and Bob Bryant of Bryant, Taylor and Gordon Golf, irrigation experts.
Turf Reduction performed after receiving technical consulting from Nicklaus Golf:
80 acres of fairways reduced to 60 acres
172 acres of total irrigated turf reduced to 130 acres for 36 holes of golf
Thousands of sprinkler heads eliminated
When asked about the water conservation efforts at Las Campanas Bob Bryant remarked, “We have been involved with Las Campanas since the last course, the Sunset Course, was built. We actually designed the irrigation system for the Sunset Course. Over the past several years, we have been involved with Tom Egelhoff, Director of Agronomy, and several Club members working on a number of projects to improve the efficiency of the older Sunrise Course irrigation system and on turf reduction projects on both courses; all in an effort to reduce water use. During this time, Las Campanas' Agronomy team has identified inefficiencies in the irrigation systems and made improvements to increase efficiency and uniformity of water application. They have implemented programs to identify total water usage by area for each golf course, prioritizing water use based on key golf course features, and worked to reduce overall water usage. Of all of our clients, Las Campanas has been the most proactive of all in working to conserve and reduce water use”.
Sod in rough was replaced with non-irrigated native vegetation.
The purpose of the Sprinkler Replacement Project was to improve technology and efficiency of the sprinkers on the golf courses and to improve watering practices. The Agronomy team replaced over 900 impact sprinkers with new gear driven sprinklers and installed soil moisture, temperature, and salinity sensors with signal inputs to operations computer. In addition, 50 satellite control stations were replaced and decreased from double/triple head controls to single head controls and 3 rain buckets were integrated to the controller to shut irrigation down during precipitation events. Three on-site weather stations provide direct data inputs for temperature, wind velocity, solar radiation, and rainfall into the operations computer.
New gear driven sprinkler head technology.
The pond repair on number 18 and 4 ponds was necessary to seal the pond banks that had been compromised due to years of bank erosion. The Agronomy team of The Club at Las Campanas monitored pond levels over a period of four months to determine where the seepage was occurring. During this time it was determined that the seepage was confined to the pond banks themselves and a professional contractor was engaged to seal the banks. The project took approximately two and a half months to complete and 30 truck loads of cement were used. Once the banks were sealed, the ponds were refilled and monitored for seepage and it was determined that the project was successful in emlinating any leaks.
Bank stabilization work on Sunrise Hole 18.