by James C. Thomas C.P.Ag.
As we enter the 21st century, many golf clubs will be encountering difficulty in obtaining an adequate irrigation water supply. Many rivers have an increasing salt content making them undesirable for use as irrigation sources. In other areas, the water levels of the underground aquifers are rapidly decreasing and governments are severely restricting the amount of water which may be withdrawn for irrigation. In still other areas, the quality of the underground aquifers is very poor resulting in the application of large amounts of salts to the turf. Use of less than ideal water quality requires a carefully designed monitoring program to optimize the use of good water and minimize damage to soil and plants from excess salts in the water. The staff at Thomas Turf Services, Inc. has experience in sampling and testing water sources and in making recommendations for water management systems.
A complete water quality analysis consists of measuring the pH, EC, total suspended solids and the concentration of: aluminum, bicarbonates, boron, calcium, carbonates, chloride, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, sodium adsorption ratio (SAR), sulfur and zinc. The values for each of these parameters are compared to the acceptable ranges for each and a complete report is written documenting the suitability of your water for use in irrigating turf.