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North Hempstead’s Harbor Links golf course to reduce water use

Harbor Links golf course in Port Washington, shown

Harbor Links golf course in Port Washington, shown on July 20, 2016, is one of the 2015 top 10 commercial water users in Port Washington. Credit: Howard Schnapp

North Hempstead officials have vowed to reduce water consumption at the town’s public golf course, Harbor Links in Port Washington, but the facility won’t be any less green.

Officials have plans to build a second holding pond at the 450-acre course to collect more rainwater to irrigate. Employees have started to hand-water “hot spot” sections of the course during the day, moving away from using sprinkler systems for those areas, officials said.

“Rough areas” of the course would maintain plantings that don’t need to be watered, officials said. A digital moisture meter would ensure that the greens are watered based on need, instead of automatically.

Newsday last month reported that Harbor Links, which used 33.9 million gallons of water at its irrigation pond last year, was the second-largest water user in the Port Washington Water District. District officials are looking to reduce water consumption on the Port Washington peninsula by 15 percent and plan to audit its top 20 residential users next year. They also have started informal talks with top commercial users about reducing water consumption.

“The town is a large water user,” North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said Tuesday. “We need to work now.”

Reducing water use is “a goal we need to take very seriously,” she said.

Bosworth said the changes would have no effect on the aesthetics of the course. “We’re not looking to change how the golf course looks, there are always ways of doing it that require less [water] usage,” she said. “The course looks beautiful.”

Funds are to be allocated in the 2017 capital plan for the reservoir holding pond.

Town officials also said they will add “smart irrigation” controllers to Alvan Petrus Park in Port Washington. The devices, which rely on weather forecasts, “will only irrigate a few areas of the park,” town officials said in a news release. Other areas of the park would be planted with low moisture-dependent plants, according to the release. The statement also noted that the park will use rain gauge sensors and have pervious asphalt pavement on its trails to better manage the storm water.

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