Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Water Wars

Here's something we're going to see more and more of in the future: communities fighting to stop golf courses in order to preserve water supply. In this case, it's citizens of Blanco County - just north of San Antonio - fighting a housing development that is planned to include the county's first golf course.

Blanco County sits atop the often shallow Trinity Aquifer, where wells are known to run dry, and the city of Blanco also takes water from the Blanco River. And it's not at all unusual for the Blanco River to run dry. In fact, a few years back, the city fell completely out of water after the river dried up during the tail-end of a very bad drought (the city has since built a pipeline to bring in additional water from Canyon Lake).

So when a developer comes in and says it wants to build a golf course and will need to pump 185 million gallons a year from the Trinity Aquifer - more than three times the amount used by the entire town of Blanco - what reaction will many residents have?

Fight the power. And the fight is sometimes successful (although this one currently looks like it won't be). A couple years ago, a different Trinity Aquifer authority nixed a planned golf course along Cibolo Creek northeast of San Antonio that professional golfer David Ogrin wanted to build.

Golf Digest architecture editor Ron Whitten has predicted that more and more golf courses in the Southwest and other drier parts of the country will be converted to a Scottish seaside links style of play: hard and fast - and often brown - fairways; natural, unsculpted rough; and with only the greens receiving regular watering from greenskeepers.

TravelGolf.com had an insightful article about water issues called "How the West gets watered." Its focus is on Las Vegas and the Desert Southwest, but many of the issues raised apply in Texas, too.

1 comment:

  1. Water is definitely going to be a big issue in the future. There are many ways to build and maintain a golf course and conserve water.

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