It is hard to believe planning for the ASR project commenced over 8 years ago, with construction finally taking place between May 2008 and January 2009, and the start of 2011 seeing the club take over the scheme after the maintenance contract expired.
A lot has been learned over the past 8 years, and as with any major project, hindsight is a wonderful thing. However, for the most part, the project has gone to plan, with critical environmental quality parameters being met by the middle of the year, and our licence to operate the system being granted. We can now happily report we commenced injection of fresh stormwater into our aquifers on June 20 this year.
There have been various teething problems that have restricted the amount of injection undertaken, but even with the “part-time” nature of the system’s operation so far, we have managed to inject over 100 megalitres (ML) of water (i.e. 100,000,000L)! This is approximately one third of the amount of water we are aiming to inject each year, so we are confident with full operation we should meet this target, which will see us injecting more water than we extract, hence having a positive impact on the aquifer and the environment, and securing the club’s water supply for the future.
A lot of work has gone into understanding the cost of running a scheme such as this, and our initial projections appear to be reasonably accurate, but more will be known after a full year of system operation. The costs associated with this scheme are reflective of the true value of water in today’s climate, with golf courses around the world now being faced with the reality of water being a highly valued resource, and priced accordingly.
We will have to drain the wetlands annually (April) to manage the European Carp population, but the investment in a semi automatic drainage system will make this process relatively efficient, with draining, clean up, and refilling expected to be completed within a week, minimising disruption to the aesthetics of the area.
Interest in our scheme has reached around the globe, with an article I wrote for the Golf Pro magazine of Finland being published in July, and in November I gave a presentation on the scheme to the Golf Club Managers Association National Conference of Great Britain and Ireland.
We should be very proud of the club’s commitment to sustainable water management, and the fact that we are seen as leaders on a global scale.