Our water comes from underground rivers that wind under almost the entire Alpes Maritimes. We therefore use drilling which is redirected towards a retention basin that has existed since the origins of the route, in 1966. This basin is 5000m3 and allows us to have a minimum of reserves in the event of difficulties.
Even if we work regularly on our watering system, it can still be improved. The original network was designed at a time when the preservation of the resource was far from being a priority. The philosophy was also to think that a golf course must be entirely green… So a whole bunch of sprinklers are of no use today, or must be modified in terms of their sectoring because they water areas out of play…
The starting postulate of any watering system should be simple: we do not water the rough and we only target the playing areas. In fact, we are working on the evolution of certain sprinklers to move from a full circle pattern, which sometimes ended up watering the adjacent road or the forest, with more precise sprinklers. The idea is to constantly find the best possible water yield. We therefore began to sectorize the watering of the fairways. In the event of drought we will be able to water only a small strip of fairway approximately 25m wide instead of 40m. We will therefore always better control our water consumption, but we will also be able to preserve the play areas as little as possible.
An important area of resource saving is the study of the grasses used. Flora conversion is a powerful tool for reducing our water consumption. We know certain grasses which are more robust to drought, consume less water and which are capable of overwintering. But the terrain, exposure, climatic configuration of the place and even certain areas must lend themselves to their implementation. A grass like Bermudagrass loves warm temperatures, light and is capable of colonizing like quackgrass but more finely. Except that in Opio-Valbonne we have to deal with relief, more limited exposure due to the very present trees and even certain areas which in winter are particularly cold. We even have an area called the icebox around the 11th, 12th, 13th because it hardly thaws in the middle of winter. So unlike the majority of courses in the region which sow Bermudagrass, we preferred a mixture of grasses composed of ryegrass, bluegrass and fescue.
Discussions with the various state services regarding water have been much more open since last year. The drought of 2022 made it possible to communicate a lot of information about our way of working, about our resource preservation policy. There is now much greater awareness of our practices among state services in the broad sense. During the checks and various meetings, we were able to fully explain our issues and what we had already put in place to increasingly preserve the resource. This communication, this transparency, is essential.