Rain Bird, a manufacturer and provider of irrigation products and services, announced that Christopher S. Gray, Sr., golf course superintendent at Marvel Golf Club in Benton, Ky., is the recipient of the 2008 Intelligent Use of Water award.

In his position at Marvel Golf Club in Benton, Kentucky, Gray has been extremely proactive in developing and implementing innovative water conservation programs both on and off the golf course. Most recently, Gray has led the development and implementation of a very unique wastewater recapture program in which all storm water and household wastewater generated by the homes surrounding the golf course is captured, treated and pumped into the course’s irrigation retention ponds where it is used to irrigate the course.

“I believe it is very important to use water as intelligently as possible and it is our responsibility as an industry to commit to finding alternative sources of water to meet the needs of golf courses,” said Gray. “We need to leave this world a better place for future generations. None of us wants our children to have to worry about where their water is going to come from.”

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Harvesting over 14 million gallons of reclaimed water per year, the innovative system eliminates the need to pull water from the local water district or nearby Kentucky Lake for irrigation purposes and significantly reduces the risk of any lake contamination from the use of pesticides and fertilizers on the golf course.

“Beyond water savings, the system has proven to be beneficial in a number of ways as it helps keep Kentucky Lake clean, and significantly reduces the amount of energy used by the course as we no longer need to pump water out of the lake,” added Gray.

As the 2008 Intelligent Use of Water Award winner, Rain Bird presented Gray with a check for $10,000 in acknowledgment of his contributions toward protecting Earth’s most precious resource at the Intelligent Use of Water Film Competition, October 11, 2008 in Los Angeles.

Emanating from the same ideals that provide the basis for Rain Bird’s core commitment to The Intelligent Use of Water, The Intelligent Use of Water Award program seeks to bring about a greater knowledge and awareness of the need for water conservation by recognizing outstanding contributions by individuals and or organizations towards the advancement of landscape water efficiency. Selected by a panel of judges according to pre-determined criteria, including demonstrated water savings, preservation of landscapes, innovation and overall impact on the community, the 2008 Intelligent Use of Water Award finalists included a mix of organizations and individuals, each with a unique commitment to improved water efficiency.

“All of the finalists were exceptional and Rain Bird is proud to be able to salute each for their outstanding efforts and innovative water management practices resulting in improved water landscape conservation,” said Dave Johnson, Rain Bird’s Director of Corporate Marketing. “As this year’s winner, Christopher’s leadership, ingenuity and overall commitment to sustainability is a real testament to the ability of golf courses to not only be compatible with the environment, but in many ways enhance it.”

Judging this year’s entries were Elizabeth Cutright, Editor, Water Efficiency, The Journal for Water Conservation Professionals; Dan Stark, Executive Director of the American Public Gardens Association; Ron Stoltz, Director of the School of Landscape Architecture at The University of Arizona and Marty Eberhardt, Executive Director of The Water Conservation Garden, 2007 winner of The Intelligent Use of Water Award.

Rain Bird’s Intelligent Use of Water Award program is part of a range of programs and initiatives to boost awareness of the need for water conservation. To learn more about Rain Bird’s commitment to The Intelligent Use of Water, visit http://www.rainbird.com/iuow/.

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