A look at the Leisure Operator Water Charter

By Alistair November 10, 2021 08:18 Updated

The water industry and the leisure sector in England and Wales are finding ways to increase collaboration, identify sustainable sources of water for turf irrigation and reduce the impacts of water stress on the future of the leisure sector.

The National Framework for Water Resource is forecasting water shortages across the United Kingdom due to increasing population, increasing likelihood of drought, heavier rainfall events leading to localised flooding, over-abstraction of water leading to poor water and ecological standards.

Therefore the Club Managers Association of Europe (CMAE), the Grounds Management Association (GMA), the Racecourse Association, and the UK Golf Federation have adopted ‘The Leisure Association Water Charter’, and are working with the water sector to highlight the need for their association members, facility operators and stakeholders to prevent or reduce irrigation use from adversely impacting supplies of potable water, water quality, or habitat and ecology.

The Leisure Association Water Charter, in collaboration with Environmental Solutions International, commits these associations to:

  • Provide information and education to their members highlighting the urgent need to move towards sustainable water sources for irrigation to safeguard the future of our industry
  • Encourage their members to work with the water companies, regional water resource groups, Environment Agency, and others to develop a national communications network to quickly communicate the need to reduce mains irrigation by members during periods of high-water demand, to protect public supplies for drinking, cooking, and washing.
  • Engage with other associations and representative bodies across the leisure sector to share case studies, information and projects to assist water reduction, and collaborate closely on projects within our industry to assist project uptake, reduce implementation time and publicise the reasons for the project.
  • Highlight the positive impacts of the projects undertaken by their members on water resilience, flood relief, and the benefits to the wider community of soft landscaping reducing run off, enhancing the natural environment, and improving the sustainability of member facilities.
  • Encourage their members to sign and promote The Leisure Operator Water Charter as a public statement of their awareness of water stress, to promote awareness amongst their stakeholders and to work with the water industry to find sustainable alternatives to protect their futures.
  • Ensure that every member has developed, or is developing, a water resilience plan by January 1, 2022.

Howard Craft, general manager at Berkhamsted Golf Club, said: “Water keeps golf courses looking beautiful, and makes them playable, but with water shortages forecast it is vital that golf operators find ways to adopt sustainable practices as regards their water usage. CMAE members manage thousands of golf facilities and collectively we can make a real difference, so we are delighted to sign and adopt this charter on behalf of them. We will educate our members as to the charter’s commitment’s and will help them to drive change to work more sustainably, and to use water more efficiently.”

Geoff Webb, GMA’s CEO, said: “We remain passionate about delivering high quality education and resources to our members, and we understand that managing adversity is high on the agenda for grounds staff and volunteers. This includes understanding best practice for water management, irrigation and ways to improve environmental impact.”

Douglas Poole, CEO, UK Golf Federation, added: “We all can see that nature’s resources and how we use them will impact on everyone in the coming years. The use of water on our golf courses and facilities has been to date very relaxed and enabled golf courses to pretty much use water to create a golf course that can be considered by some as slightly artificial. But water is not an unlimited resource and there will be restrictions on its usage over the coming years which will make changes to how golf facilities and other sports manage their green areas. The UK Golf Federation is keen to be at the forefront of managing change in water usage for golf courses, and through its 1,100 members will support governments as they move forward in working with our limited and costly asset – water!”

If you are a leisure facility operator and you want to look at the Leisure Operator Water Charter, and possibly sign up, and access help and advice from the water sector on water resilience for your facility, you can review and adopt it here: forms.office.com/r/hurxRXEUJ6

By Alistair November 10, 2021 08:18 Updated

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