Drought Drying Up Business?

With low water levels and really dry conditions, many people think they should give up on their plans for things like canoeing or golfing, but that's not the case.

"I think probably more than anything perception is a problem," says Rob Traxler, owner of Boo Canoe and Raft, "When they hear drought problems they don't go looking for a canoe trip that they can take down the river."

But Traxler says you can still take that trip.

"We have alternate routes that we can use when water levels get low," he says, "It's a nice route."

Traxler says the Wisconsin River is about a foot or so below normal.

"Last year in the month of May we had over 3,000 cubic feet per second flowing through here. Today we're at 163 cubic feet per second."

Traxler says in the 3 years he's had the business, he's seen low levels but just not this early in the year. But so far, his business is holding strong.

"We're not drastically off the pace from last year," says Traxler, "But if the drought continues, then we'll start to fall off."

You may have also noticed some area golf courses have a few brown spots, but thanks for a past investment, Madison's 4 city courses have been kept up to par.

"We were lucky enough a few years ago putting some new irrigation systems and pump stations," says Ray Shane, Madison Golf Program Superintendent, "It's really doing a good job of keeping up with the dry weather."

Shane says they are using more water but it's not really a big problem.

"You do spend more money in water during drought time but 75% doesn't receive irrigation so in the big picture, it's not that dramatic of an increase."

And he says it's worth it to spend a little more money right now to keep things up.

"If you do cease to irrigate you'll notice turf loss and it's expensive to rejuvenate grass and take care of the weed problems that are going to come in," says Shane.

He adds, when it comes to priorities, the greens are the number one priority, then the tee areas, then the fairways.

As for business, he says revenue is pretty good, but the heat does make golfers who are having a bad game a little more irritable.

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