Irrigation Overhaul Means Huge Water Savings at Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas

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Irrigation Overhaul Means Huge Water Savings at Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas

MGM Resorts expects to see about 33 percent water savings as more than 7,000 trees are surrounded by flexible drip-line tubing when the irrigation system upgrade is complete in June

Shadow Creek Irrigation Manager Carlos Duran poses by a drip irrigation line recently installed around a tree. He and his team are surrounding nearly 7,000 trees around the golf course with similar dripline.

The gardening team at Shadow Creek has been working for months to install an irrigation upgrade that will reduce the course’s water usage by nearly one-third.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2015 - 12:00pm

CAMPAIGN: Green Advantage

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MGM Resorts International expects to see healthier trees and more efficiency as water usage drops by about one third when a comprehensive irrigation upgrade now in progress at Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas is finished in June.

“The change allows us to turn down the overhead sprinklers that water the grass in natural areas, while still getting enough water to the trees where it’s needed,” said Tim Cloninger, Shadow Creek Superintendent. “We’re a little more than half done and we’ve already reduced our water usage by about 25 percent.”

The front nine is finished, with the rest of the installation along holes 10-18 to be completed by next June. While the majority of trees – and therefor the majority of water savings – can be found on the front nine, incorporating the entire golf course should result in an overall reduction in water usage of at least 33 percent, Cloninger said.

The original irrigation system, a traditional above-ground rotor system, didn’t allow the grounds crews to target the trees independently of the native grass; pine trees prefer a deep and infrequent watering versus the light-but-frequent irrigation that grass needs. At least three members of the course’s maintenance team have been dedicated to the project, cutting trenches through the rocky soil, laying underground pipe from existing irrigation lines into the natural areas, installing valves, and running miles of flexible drip-line tubing around nearly 7,000 individual trees that live on the golf course. Every line is being marked by GPS for future maintenance purposes

The upgrade will allow golf course crews to water where and when it is needed at the base of the trees without overwatering the surrounding grass areas. The result is healthier trees even as the water usage – and the water bill – drops significantly. The project has already paid for itself; for every $1 invested to install the new irrigation system, the MGM Resorts has already saved more than $3 in water costs, just in the first year. Cloninger said he expects to replace about 60 fewer trees per year as a result of the upgrade.

“Overall, we’re very happy with the early results we’re seeing,” he said. “It’s great for the environment because we’re saving water. It’s good for the bottom line because we’re saving money.  And it’s better for the trees, too.”

For more information on MGM Resorts' Green Advantage, please visit MGM Resorts. 

Keywords: Environment | Ecotravel & Tourism | Environment | Innovation & Technology | MGM Resorts International | Responsible Production & Consumption | Trees | Water

CAMPAIGN: Green Advantage

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