A LEADING expert in water purification has warned wasting water on the upkeep of golf courses could diminish the supply for human use.
The claim comes as a report shows the two golf clubs in the province used a combined total of one million cubic metres of water in the maintenance of their greens last year.
The 18-hole Los Moriscos course in Motril went through 700,000 cubic metres (m3) in 2005 while Las Gabias near the city of Granada needed 350,000 m3, according to Golf and the Environment in Andalucía – a report jointly prepared by the Golf Federation of Andalucía and bank Cajamar.
Speaking at a conference on water purification in Almuñecar, Antonia Reyes Requena, a professor of chemical engineering at Granada University, said: “If we are wasting water keeping our golf courses green, the moment could soon arrive when there is not a sufficient amount for our own needs.”
The amount of water used at the 18-hole Las Gabias last year is the equivalent of 6,000 m3 per hectare. Other- yet smaller- interior greens, such as the 9-hole La Garza in the Jaén province and the similar sized Pozoblanco in Córdoba needed only 1,000m3 per hectare.
Juan de la Chica, the president of the Granada Club de Golf which is based at Las Gabias, denied so much water was used at the course.
However, he added that per hectare a golf course is more important than agricultural land.
“A hectare of golf produces more wealth and jobs than a hectare of farm land,” he said. “Farmers in the Vega de Granada [the area of land that surrounds the city] use a lot more water than a golf course does.”
Rafael Priego, one of the authors of Golf and the Environment in Andalucía, explained the different factors that govern the amount of water used in the management of courses.
“The location of the course, the system of watering and the rainfall levels of an area are all decisive pointers in water usage,” he said.
The Junta de Andalucía regional government has announced measures that may threaten the 20 planned golf courses for the Granada province.
A green paper prepared by the departments of tourism, public works and environment will be discussed in parliament in Seville before 2007. It includes: limiting the number of homes built at a golf course to just one per hectare of green; limiting the height of buildings to seven metres; enforcing the use of desalinated or purified water and limiting the number of hotel beds to four per hectare of golf course.
The billion-euro Playa Granada Golf Resort near Motril will be most affected. Fifteen homes per hectare are planned for the four hectare complex.