The RAGC Stormwater Project brings significant benefit to the community and great benefit to the golf club.

The Problem

Achieving a sustainable supply of irrigation water for the golf course.

South Australia is known as the driest State in the driest continent on earth and golf courses need a large supply of irrigation water to survive. 

Royal Adelaide Golf Club has traditionally had access to unlimited free underground water for its irrigation needs.  The course currently uses in excess of 200 megalitres of bore water from the aquifer (200 metres below the surface) each year, most of it over the four or five dry months of summer. 

The Government of South Australia is in the process of regulating and restricting access to this water and will inevitably charge users for its consumption. 

The club wished to secure its future supply of water if at all possible.

The Solution

With the close cooperation of the Government of South Australia, the club has developed within its boundaries a wetland to harvest stormwater runoff from the surrounding suburbs.   The stormwater is cleaned by the reedbeds in the wetland sufficiently to be injected back into the underground aquifer.

The club should be able to put as much water back into the wetlands over winter as it takes out over summer, becoming a net zero user of aquifer water.


The total cost of this project was some $A2.7 m, which was shared equally between the club, the Australian, and South Australian Governments.  The total project of some $A8.0 m. included similar wetlands and aquifer recharge systems at The Grange and Glenelg Golf Clubs nearby.

Benefits to the community

Adelaide has a problem with the discharge of turbid stormwater into the ocean which restricts sunlight to the native sea grasses and kills them.  The wetland schemes significantly reduce the flow of stormwater into the ocean. 

A further benefit is that a large user of underground water can reduce its usage to zero and in fact could become a net provider of water.  This is significant as aquifer water levels are dropping and salt levels are rising over time. 

Benefits to the Club

The aquifer water contains salt at 950 parts per million.  Use of this water causes a salt build up in the bent greens, which can cause bare patches by the end of summer.  The cleaned stormwater contains salt at approximately 100 parts per million, which is lower than Adelaide´s potable water supply.  Use of this water will eliminate the salt build up problem.

The wetland has greatly enhanced the appearance of an area of the course that grew only scrubby vegetation in salty soil.

The Result

The Royal Adelaide Golf Club now injects cleaned stormwater down into the aquifer.  The project brings significant benefit to the community and great benefit to the golf club.