News Stories

Playing Golf in the Desert

The world's top water wasters are the U.S., Djibouti, Cape Verde, New Zealand and Italy. The reason we're on top??We love to play golf, and keeping fairways green uses up huge amounts of water. The U.S. has about 23,000 golf courses, the largest number in the world. And many of them are located in the west, where there's the least water.

A new law has rule that Las Vegas golf courses will have to either take out some of their turf or let the grass turn brown in order to meet new watering restrictions. The drought there is in its fourth year, but despite this, the water fountains on the strip are still flowing and golf courses are still green. However, water officials say most of the big Las Vegas water attractions use recycled water. And some of the new golf courses changing to desert courses, meaning there are breaks in the turf.

"It absolutely has to be done," says Doug Bennett, of the Southern Nevada Water Authority. "Everyone will have to give something. It's not going to be easy."

"There's some areas of the golf courses around the fringes you're just going to have to let go," says Jesse Thorpe, of Spanish Trails Country Club.

"It's a very easy target to say, hey, look at that big ol' green thing there," said Stan Spraul, of Southern Highlands Golf Club. "If we drop 10% of what we use, it's a lot less impact than if homeowners could save 10%." But the rules are changing for homeowners too, and new homes may not be allowed to have grass in their front yards.

"It should really be the start of a huge wake-up call," says Jane Feldman of the Sierra Club. "If it's not, we're doomed."

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