Friday, June 1, 2012

Rainfall by the Numbers

Finally some rain!  While I do like the dry weather because it's better for golf, it is nice to get natural rain from time to time.  The irrigation systems designed and installed in this part of the world are supplemental meaning we do expect to get rain to help out...usually 2-3 inches per month.  In the desert, golf course irrigation systems have about three times the number of sprinklers and a much higher capacity to pump water. 

Here's why:

The size of our property is 160 acres of which about 100 acres are irrigated.  If you work out the math, one inch of water spread out over one acre is equal to 27,154 gallons of water - this is called an acre inch of water.  So if we get the 1.5 inches of rain that are forecasted today, slightly more than 4 million gallons of water will fall on those 100 acres that we irrigate.  To put on the equivalent amount of water through our irrigation system, I would have to run the sprinklers for 48 hours straight!  As you can see, our irrigation system can not compete with a nice gentle rain like we are receiving today.

Even more interesting is that between April 1st and yesterday, our weather station (pictured above) has recorded 1.5 inches of rain and over 7.5 inches of Evapotranspiration (ET).  ET is a measure of how much water the turf has lost.  If you work out the numbers, we would have had to supply over 16 million gallons of water to make up that 6 inch deficit in ET.  Fortunately, the grass plant is somewhat efficient and does not require 100% replacement of ET to stay healthy - we typically set our irrigation system to replace about 60% of the ET recorded.  The previous two months were a good test of our 10 year old irrrigation system and it performed very well.  It looks like it will get a rest for a little while as Mother Nature takes over.

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