Golfers know scoring a three-under-par “Double Eagle” is a rare feat, but the Red Rock Country Club and its sister Siena Golf Course have consistently created the equivalent in water savings through a variety of conservation projects.
“Our efforts to save water over the past two decades have significantly reduced our water use, resulting in tremendous cost savings,” said Regional General Manager Thom Blinkinsop, noting that the combined conservation projects are saving enough water to reduce the golf courses’ water bills by $1.5 million annually. He added that the projects help the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) protect a precious natural resource. And the community has more water available for the future.
Blinkinsop calls this a “win-win-win” for the golf courses, SNWA and the community. The triple benefit creates a water conservation “Double Eagle”.
Initial projects focused on replacing grass with water-efficient landscaping through the SNWA Water Smart Landscapes (WSL) rebate program. The WSL program also rebated the organization for removing a small lake in an area not used by golfers and reducing the size of another water feature.
With WSL, nearly any property can qualify to earn $3 for every square foot of grass removed and replaced with drip-irrigated landscaping, up to the first 10,000 square feet ($1.50 per square-foot thereafter for a maximum rebate of $500,000 per year). There has never been a better time to ditch that grass and start reducing maintenance costs.
“The Water Authority rebate helped us replace grass and reduce our water use and our water bills, which are a significant cost of operating a golf course,” Blinkinsop said. The company’s first WSL project at the Siena Golf Club in 2002 cut in half the million-dollar-per-year water bill.
When SNWA staff contacted the golf clubs about placing banners on site to help promote the WSL rebate program, Blinkinsop asked if there were other opportunities to save water. SNWA conducted an audit of the properties and suggested the company replace older, inefficient ice machines with new air-cooled machines through SNWA’s Water Efficient Technologies (WET) rebate program.
The WET program offers financial incentives to commercial and multifamily property owners who install water-efficient devices and technologies. The amount of the rebate depends upon the technology and where that savings occurs – indoors or outdoors.
“Our golf courses use a lot of ice machines, so the savings is significant. And I was tired of seeing water – and money – go down the drain,” Blinkinsop said, noting that the $12,000 WET rebate covered half the cost of replacing the ice machines.
The Red Rock Country Club is saving nearly 2.5 million gallons of water annually, and the Siena Golf Course is saving more than 530,000 gallons per year just by installing new technologies that use less water to get the job done.
“As community leaders, we need to save even more water. This rebate program is a Godsend. You get paid to do something that’s going to help you in the long-run by reducing your water bill and landscape maintenance costs,” Blinkinsop said.
While the Red Rock Country Club and Siena Golf Course have continuously looked for ways to reduce water use without impacting the integrity of the golf courses, Blinkinsop noted that SNWA staff are very helpful in finding new and unique opportunities to save water and apply for the rebate programs.
“Participating in one of the SNWA rebate programs is a no brainer. I don’t understand why a business wouldn’t look into it,” said Blinkinsop, who recommends other businesses contact SNWA to find ways they can save water and reduce their water bills. “If it uses water, SNWA probably has a rebate for it.”
For more information about how you and your business can invest in our community and save money and water through the SNWA’s WSL and WET programs, visit snwa.com or call (702) 862-3740.
Members of the editorial and news staff of the Las Vegas Review-Journal were not involved in the creation of this content.