As El Niño threatens irrigation supply: water used by golf courses can supply 1,500 has of rice paddies per day

There may be enough supply if consumption is regulated among wasteful users such as golf courses.

* Correction-In Metro Manila including in Antipolo… “around 18,576 cubic meters of water per hectare per day is spent for golf courses” SHOULD HAVE READ “around 18,576 cubic meters of water per day is spent for golf courses. “

As the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) warns against cutting water supply for irrigation because of the El Nino, independent research group IBON said that there may be enough supply if consumption is regulated among wasteful users such as golf courses.

A study made by the group reveals that the water consumption of 18-hole golf courses nationwide consumes 194,400 cubic meters of water per day— enough to supply the water needs of 1,500 hectares of paddy rice. This amount is computed based on an NWRB estimate that an 18-hole golf course consumes 51.84 cubic meters of water per hectare per day. There are 75 major golf courses in the country covering a conservative estimate of 3,750 hectares of land.

Moreover, water consumed by golf courses can supply the crucial water needs of 516,085 households nationwide.

In Metro Manila including in Antipolo (a total of 13 golf courses with an estimate of 650 hectares), around 18,576 cubic meters of water per hectare per day is spent for golf courses. This volume is enough to meet the water needs of 12,355 households in Metro Manila, where some 53,300 households in areas covered by private concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water are denied of water service.

When dams reach a critical level, water allocation for irrigation is usually among the first to be reduced. In the case of the Angat Dam, this would mean cutting irrigation and threatening the rice production of around 31,000 hectares of agricultural land.

IBON, a member of the water advocacy network Water for the People, said that amid the tightening water supply, the NWRB should further lower the allocation for excessive water users such as golf courses. Authorities should also strictly monitor and regulate water use by large commercial establishments like malls, hotels, private parks, and others. Water needed by agricultural land and domestic use should be prioritized it will help ensure food security as well as the health, sanitation and important water needs of the people. (end)

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