Friday, June 16, 2006

Latest Boot Ranch Issue: Water Woes

Boot Ranch, Hal Sutton's high-end golf course development near Fredericksburg, has had troubles throughout its relatively brief existence. Funding issues, sales issues, permitting issues. All complicated by the fact that a major investor in the project is the State of Louisiana's police pension fund, and the fund managers have gotten concerned about progress.

The latest? Water woes, which is not a surprise at all for any golf course being built where this one is being built.

The Associated Press reported recently:

A luxury golf resort, envisioned by Shreveport golfer Hal Sutton and backed by millions of dollars from a Louisiana police pension fund, has a new foe: the Texans who live around it.

A judge, county officials, ranchers and others are fighting Sutton's Boot Ranch because they fear Palo Alto Creek will go dry keeping its lush greens watered. They're also calling for a state investigation into an allegedly illegal water reservoir on the property.

Boot Ranch wants permission to pump as much as 2,550 gallons of water per minute from Palo Alto Creek -- up from the current 88 gallons of water per minute. The creek is the only water source for many adjoining pastures and the livestock that graze there.

Carter Schildknecht, a district judge in Texas, said they want the project to succeed, but not at the creek's expense. Last week, she and nearly 125 others showed up for a hearing in Fredericksburg, Texas, near where the resort is being built, to urge Texas environmental regulators to nix the project's water permit request and investigate the reservoir.

Doesn't it seem pretty risky to built a golf course development in an area where the primary source of water is a creek? Not even a river or a stream, but a creek. And requesting an upgrade from 88 gallons of water per minute to 2,550 ... someone correct my math if I'm wrong, but I believe that's a requested increase of 2,900 percent.

Maybe the developers should have considered the water situation before they moved in ... nah, why would they do that? Texas laws are written by developers for developers.

For more on Boot Ranch (in order of our posts), see here, here, here and here.

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