What’s wrong with this picture? Nitrate, a key nutrient for growing lush lawns, is removed from municipal wastewater (to prevent water pollution) only to be added back to the lawn by homeowners fertilizing their lawns. Why not keep the nitrate in wastewater and use the wastewater to irrigate lawns?
Why not, indeed, especially in the arid areas of the country? In Santa Fe, Albuquerque and other major cities in New Mexico, nearly every public golf course is now watered with treated municipal wastewater rather than precious potable water supplies. Across the U.S. Southwest as a whole, more than 40 percent of all golf courses receive treated effluent. Reusing the effluent increases the sustainability of golf courses.
Additionally, golf courses and homeowners alike fertilize their lawns during the growing season. A New Mexico State University turfgrass expert has a new vision for even more efficiency, something called “fertigation.”
Fertigation is a method of supplying fertilizers to plants through irrigation water (fertilize and irrigate at the same time). Drip irrigation delivers water directly to plant roots underground, instead of sprinkling plants from above.