Return to

AGCSA Water Management

Water Management

A key objective of the Water Initiative is to provide an "Internet Hub" whereby Turf Managers can gain access to information on a wide range of water  managment issues which are relevant to Australian golf and Australian golf courses. The links below cover a range of water management topics, with each section including links to; Case Studies, Relevant Articles, Research Information and Publications and Websites.

 The basis of the information supplied is taken from Chapter 2 of the document entitled;


Authored by the Australian Golf Course Superintendents Assoiciation (AGCSA) in partnership with the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) with funding from the Urban Stormwater Education Program this significant publication covers topics such as  

 Whilst specific to NSW, the water management principles outlined in IMPROVING THE ENVIRONMETAL MANAGEMENT OF NEW SOUTH WALES GOLF COURSES are also applicable to golf clubs and golf courses across the country and across the globe.


  • The availability of a good-quality and regular water supply is essential in maintaining high-quality turf surfaces.
  • Possibly the single greatest threat to the management of golf courses is the lack of water and the increasing salinity of water supplied.
  • As the demand for potable water increases, golf courses will potentially have to use lower-grade water supplies which are high in salts, sodium, nutrients and other contaminants.
  • With the increased use of lower-quality water supplies, more intensive management will be required using various water treatment and soil remediation techniques
  • Reclaimed wastewater is an underused resource that can provide a good-quality water source for golf courses. 
  • Common source water indicators for turf include:

- total soluble salts (salinity)
- sodium
- sodium adsorption ratio (SAR)
- chloride
- carbonate
- bicarbonate
- boron
- pH

  •  Additional reclaimed water indicators include:
- nutrients (phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium)
- human pathogens (indicated by thermotolerant coliforms)
- other contaminants (e.g. trace metals, pesticides)

Before initiating a reuse system it is important to have an understanding of the site conditions, including:
- geology and soils
- topography
- proximity to ground and surface water
- climate, rainfall, runoff and evaporation conditions
- irrigation requirements
- vegetation types.

  • High-salinity water can be managed through modified irrigation and soil management practices and the selection of salt-tolerant grasses.


John Neylan - Australian Golf Course Superintendents Association
New South Wales Environment Protection Authority

This information for golf courses was published by the Department of Environment and Climate Change NSW (DECC), which incorporates the NSW Environmental Protection Authority. The manual was first published in a hardcopy folder format by the Australian Golf Course Superintendents' Association (AGCSA) in 2003

Published by:
Department of Environment and Climate Change NSW
59-61 Goulburn Street, Sydney
PO Box A290
Sydney South 1232
Ph: (02) 9995 5000 (switchboard)
Ph: 131 555 (environment information and publications requests)
Ph: 1300 361 967 (national parks information and publications requests)
Fax: (02) 9995 5999
TTY: (02) 9211 4723

© Copyright Department of Environment and Climate Change NSW.
DECC is pleased to allow this material to be reproduced in whole or in part, provided the meaning is unchanged and the source is acknowledged.

In April 2007, the name of the Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW) changed to the Department of Environment and Climate Change NSW.

DECC 2007/588
ISBN 978 1 74122 658 4
Published December 2007
Front cover photograph: Nelson Bay Golf Club, courtesy of Frouke de Reuver

This guide provides information relevant at the time of publication. It is not a regulatory document and does not provide legal advice. If you need more information regarding legal obligations, consult a lawyer, the legislation, DECC or your local Council.

While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the contents of this guide are factually correct, DECC does not accept responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the contents and is not liable for any loss or damage that may occur directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the contents of this guide.