Digging for something deeper

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One of the industry’s leading water companies brings awareness to a reality facing residents in developing and remote parts of the world.

June 7, 2016

AQUA-AID business manager Scott Thompson participated in a volunteer trip to Honduras to drill a clean water well and educate residents about basic hygienic tasks.
© scott thompson

Water efficiency is a golf industry conundrum. Water deficiency is a worldwide conundrum.

AQUA-AID business manager Scott Thompson received a glimpse of the plight when he volunteered to visit Honduras, a Central America nation with limited access to clean water. “Ever since then I have been thinking about what AQUA-AID can do as a company to conserve water and to get that water to the people that need it the most,” he says.

The need can be startling. Living Water International – the group that organized the trip to Honduras – estimates 2.4 billion people lack access to modern water sanitation. Securing safe water in the Honduran village Thompson visited involves capturing supplies in a river during the nation’s rainy season. The water then must travel six miles in a small pipe to reach villagers. During dry times, residents use water resting in deep, dirty ditches. Water consumed from the ditches can have a fatal effect. More than 840,000 people die each year from diarrhea caused by unsafe water, according to Living Water.

“It was very eye-opening to think that people had to drink that type of water or bathe in that type of water,” Thompson says. “I can step outside of my office and go to a water fountain and drink clean water every five minutes if I want to. These people get clean water two or three months out of the year.”

Thompson and fellow volunteers from his North Carolina church used their time in Honduras to a dig a well and educate residents about the value of basic hygienic tasks such as washing hands and maintaining a clean well. The experience convinced Thompson to explore a relationship between AQUA-AID, which manufacturers soil surfactants, biosurfactants and wetting agents, and Living Water.

AQUA-AID is donating 20 cents for each hand-watering pellet it sells in 2016 to Living Water. Thompson, though, says a broader goal exists. The company envisions a team of employees, distributors and end users participating in a volunteer trip to drill a well in a remote area. Living Water performs its work in Central and South America and Africa.

“Being a surfactant company we preach all the time utilizing water more efficiently,” Thompson says. “We are putting water on to try to get grass to grow. But there are people that don’t have access to water to drink that are trying to keep themselves alive. Let’s conserve water here and let’s provide water for people that don’t have access to water. What we are conserving hopefully will provide for somebody else.”

Super work for veterans

Mike Blackwood hasn’t let hectic days leading the maintenance operations at a 36-hole public facility impede his ability to use golf for a greater good. Blackwood, the superintendent at Black Hawk Golf Course in Beaver Falls, Pa., organized a second annual outing benefitting Vietnam War veterans May 21.

The date of the outing coincided with Armed Forces Day and attracted more than 300 players to Black Hawk. Blackwood joined Superintendent Radio Network to discuss the outing’s evolution and how superintendents can be catalysts for similar events at their respective facilities. Enter bit.ly/221dryw into your web browser to listen to the podcast.

Key USGA Green Section figure retiring

Jim Moore’s 32-year run with the USGA ended June 1 when he retired from his position as director of the Green Section’s Education Program. His primary responsibility in the leadership position included providing golf course management information to various segments of the industry. Adam Moeller, an agronomist for the Green Section’s Northeast Region since 2008, will replace Moore.

To read more about Moore’s career and his thoughts on retirement, enter bit.ly/1sH7QSc into your web browser. Moore’s wife, Kay, the office coordinator for the Green Section Education Program, retired on the same day as her husband.