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Hi-tech helps Utah golf managers use the least amount of water during drought

Posted at 8:41 AM, Jun 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-08 10:41:48-04

DRAPER, Utah — Utah is in the middle of one of the worst droughts on record, and that is having a major impact on local golf courses.

For the six municipal courses operated by Salt Lake County, it means utilizing some hi tech to make sure they don’t use more water than they need.

READ: As Utah's drought gets worse, some cities threaten fines and shutoffs for water wasters

Superintendent Lou Smith gave Fox 13 a tour of the South Mountain course in Draper where he is the superintendent .

He’s been managing local courses for more than three decades.

Smith says soil probes throughout the course tell his team moisture content and that information is then transferred to a computer-generated pumping station which disperses the exact amount of water needed.

READ: Salt Lake City issues call for greater water conservation efforts in face of extreme drought

“We don’t guess, we don’t flood irrigate, we want to know exactly where we are at on a nightly basis,” Smith said. “The water is just so important to what we do, I mean it’s the number one ingredient to growing good turf. But our job is to use as much as we need for fine turf but not more than we need and we strive for that every, single morning.”

Crews also use a course weather station that monitors 12 to 15 different things including wind speed, barometric pressure, and rain and takes all the data into account every day, so sprinklers will adjust every single day depending on the weather.

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson says the county is committed to long-term water conservation amid frequent emergency droughts and changing environmental landscapes.

“Water conservation is a critical issue to the well-being of our community as we grow and adapt to the changes our landscape faces," Mayor Wilson said.

For more information on how Salt Lake County preserves water, click here.