In daytime heat, golf sprinklers firing |

In daytime heat, golf sprinklers firing

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Parkites who turn on their sprinklers during the baking daytime hours risk a ticket from City Hall.

The Park Meadows Country Club, though, is not worried about the local government’s enforcers. Crews at the golf course there are allowed to run the huge sprinklers whenever they want and keep them on for as long as they desire. Early in the week, the sprinklers were seen shooting water onto the course during the midday heat.

The city’s Public Works Department and an official at the golf course say Park Meadows, the only privately held course in the city, has its own water supply and it does not tap City Hall’s pipes. Because the golf course keeps its own water, it is not made to follow the strict sprinkling rules required of Parkites and businesses.

"The important part is we’re more effective with our water," says John Haynes, the superintendent of the course.

He explains the automated system had not been working early in the week. To catch up, he says, the course turned the sprinklers on during the day. They were on for a bit on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The week before, the sprinklers were on during the day a few times, he says.

Haynes says the daytime sprinklers target the fairways, tee areas and greens. He claims it is better to water during the day. In the sunlight, he says, the crews are more confident they are watering the right spots.

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"Watering aimlessly in the night is worse than watering site-specifically," Haynes says.

Hot temperatures and dry weather continue to grip Utah, with temperatures in the Park City area reaching into the 90s this week. Parkites are using most of City Hall’s daily water supply, with the Public Works Department saying the consumption peaked this week on Monday. That day, Parkites used 8.8 million gallons, says Kent Cashel, the No. 2 person in the Public Works Department. Since then, the number fluctuated between 8.3 million and 8.6 million gallons. City Hall’s supply is 9.8 million gallons in a day.

Officials in late June declared Park City in what is known as a ‘Stage 1 Drought,’ meaning Parkites were using more than 85 percent of the daily supply, or more than 8.3 million gallons. The declaration keeps compliance with water-conservation methods voluntary but it allows City Hall to issue tickets, instead of warnings, to people violating the sprinkling rules.

At Haynes’ golf course, the water comes from the Spiro Tunnel, an important source that also provides some of City Hall’s supply. Haynes says the golf course holds well-established water rights in the tunnel, providing Park Meadows with the water needed for the sprinkling.

"We can’t compel them. If they don’t use it, it goes down the stream," Cashel says.

Meanwhile, course officials are installing an advanced sprinkling system, which Haynes expects will be ready in the spring. The system, priced at about $2.5 million and paid for by the country club’s members, is more efficient and will allow crews to regulate sprinkling every 60 feet, he says.

Haynes says the golf course uses between 830,000 and 850,000 gallons each day, down from the little more than 1 million gallons the course used daily in 2006. Golfers expect a nice-looking course and it would be less appealing if watering were reduced further, Haynes says.

"We’ve cut watering back dramatically on this golf course," he says, adding, "And we’re suffering the consequences because it does not look as lush as it did."