Recycling water hurts golf course

The amount of water flowing down the pipes in Williams has reduced tremendously and is effecting the Williams Municipal Golf Course fairways.

“Basically, we’re down 1 million gallons — that’s a lot,” said Ron Stilwell, water superintendent for the city, about the amount of water the treatment plant is handling on a monthly basis. “That can all be attributed to the people reusing their water from washing dishes and clothes to water their lawns.

This green grass at the Grand Canyon Railway is produced by the railway hauling in reclaimed water from Flagstaff.

“Most all residents are complying with our conservation ordinance, but that means less water for irrigation at the golf course,” Stilwell said.

For May 2001, 9,334,020 gallons of effluent were treated. In May 8,544,700 gallons went through the system. The drop in irrigation for the golf course has affected the appearance of the links.

“The greens are in good shape, as good as last year,” said Bob DeLander, golf course committee member for the city. “They’ve stopped watering parts of the fairways where the ball doesn’t normally fall.

“They’ve let them go and they’re turning brown,” said DeLander.

The difference for March and April is even higher. The treatment plant dealt with 11,545,146 gallons of effluent during March 2001. This March the amount totaled 8,516,600. For April of 2001, 10,885,700 gallons were treated and this year the number was 8,829,800.

Of this amount, a good portion of it heads to the golf course to water the greens. This year the amount has increased.

“Typically 80 percent of the water goes to the golf course,” said Stilwell. “Right now our numbers are really down because of water conservation. During all of May we gave [Marty Yerian, golf course supervisor] 100 percent, which is what we’re doing for June as well as July.”

The greens will continue to be watered until it’s too cold to pipe the water to the course.

Residents and businesses alike are either recycling and reusing water or hauling water from afar to water landscaping.

The Grand Canyon Railway is an example of one business that has hauled water for two years to water grass and landscaping on their property.

“We rented a 4,000 gallon tanker truck and we haul one load a day to irrigate our grounds so that we don’t have to use the City of Williams resources,” said Ervin H. White, trainmaster for the GCR. The railway purchases reclaimed water from the City of Flagstaff.

“We have gone to great expense to keep our grounds looking good without impacting the city,” White said. “This is the second year that we’ve hauled water. We used a contractor to haul water in for use for irrigation. This is the first year we’ve used reclaimed.”

White said the head grounds keeper, Ben Procter, has worked diligently to keep the grounds looking healthy.

“We had to get permit through ADEQ (Arizona Department of Environmental Quality),” he said. “ It’s actually pretty cheap to water the grounds but it’s the hauling that coast us so much.”

One local resident said reusing his water has saved his lawn.

“We installed a hose to the washing machine so it drains to the yard,” said Mark Bradshaw. “That’s a whole heck of a lot of water.”

The low water using washing machine the Bradshaw family purchased recently still consumes a ton of water.

“It’s 60-70 gallons of water for one load,” he said. “It’s suppose to be a water saving one. We just bought it four months ago.

“And we use our dish and shower water for the yard — we bucket it our there.”

The amount of city water the Bradshaw’s use had not decreased.

“We still use water,” he said. “We use the same amount but we’ve cut down watering (the yard) to two days a week.”

In the current drought situation, conservation is needed said Dennis Wells, city manager.

“People are conserving and they think when they turn off the tap,” he said. “And they’re also reusing.

“It think more and more people are using the water conservative plumbing appliances, like toilets, sheds and faucets. That’s helping us as well.”

To help to store effluent for when it’s needed is currently an item the city council is discussing.

“That’s why there is such a need for Lake Ellen,” said Stilwell. “We can actually store the effluent in Lake Ellen for the winter months.”

Testing on the lakebed to see where water escapes from started last week.

“We’ll probably line it with Beniot (a sealer) or clay,” Stilwell said.

The city is considering damming the side of the lake that holds water.

The city has placed getting Lake Ellen up and running on its priority list.

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