Saturday, January 11, 2014

Upcoming Drought Challenges in 2014

I'm sure we are all aware of the widely publicized condition of Folsom Lake, which of course is the primary source of both potable drinking water and non-potable irrigation water for Granite Bay Golf Club as well as a  large surrounding area. Due to the historic drought conditions many reports are stating that the lake is going down some 350 acre foot a day and is forecasted to be below intake culverts by May. Folsom dam discharges have already been reduced into the American River and regional conservation efforts are under way.

On Wednesday evening 1/8/14 Mitch and I attended a much anticipated San Juan Water District board meeting in which the board approved the recommendations from a Staff Report dated January 2, 2014. The recommendations included a request that "customers refrain from outdoor irrigation" in January, and "If the forecast remains dry in February, initiate a Stage 5 Water Emergency - Long Term, using February as the month to educate customers. If the forecast remains dry in March, begin stringent implementation of all aspects of a Stage 5 Water Emergency." 

a December 10th graphic depicting the historically low level
of Folsom Lake.

Stage 5 Water Emergency is a "long term declaration for water shortage conditions expected for a duration of more then 45 days". This declaration includes many common sense water conservation practices along with prohibition of "Landscape and Pasture Irrigation" and a reduction of "indoor water use by more then 50%." Additionally "Water Crisis / Emergency tiered pricing will be implemented. "

What does this mean for GBGC?

If a Stage 5 Water Alert is declared "there are a significant number of issues that need to be resolved prior to this action." according to the San Juan Staff Report. Some of those issues are "Is commercial irrigation allowed ?" and to what extent. In our conversations with San Juan it was evident that they were very aware of the impact of a total prohibition of irrigating the golf course and the ramifications it would have on our club and business. If conditions persist though, we would have to prepared to reduce  both potable water and irrigation consumption from the San Juan water system like everyone else. This is new territory for both the water district and GBGC which we hope will allow us to collaborate with San Juan to come up with common sense approach for the golf course.

What Is GBGC Doing ?

Golf Course Contingency Planning

We are hoping for the best, which of course would mean  lots of rain but preparing for the worst. Currently long range weather forecaster's have high barometric pressure holding and diverting storms around California through February and early March. Conditions in their models change after that, but questions remain if there will be any storms to come through the newly "opened window".

We currently get a flow of water coming from springs at the lower end of the City of Roseville Water Treatment plant on Barton Road amounting to approximately 170 gallons per minute per our estimation's. This is more then enough to keep our irrigation lake full and fulfill  demands for minimal  dry winter irrigation needs to the course. Unfortunately for us this flow level does not persist into the summer.  In an effort to capture another five to six acre feet of this "free flowing water" we are sand bagging the dam on the irrigation lake near the bridge on #1. This is the equivalent of almost two million gallons of water stored. Additionally we are exploring subsurface water just as all of the water districts in our area are doing.

Surface water  currently entering GBGC via the creek
to the left of #3. 
Finally I am working on a report to present to San Juan detailing how other water districts in similar situations have worked with Golf Courses throughout the State and Country. Drought, water shortages and  water conservation are nothing new to golf,  and many of our fellow Club Corp properties have had to deal with these situations providing many models that can be explored  and adopted for us.

Once all of these items have been examined, and we have an idea of how much water we will  have to irrigate, we can fine tune the details of our drought contingency plan. These details  include  where we can turn water off and re-triangulate irrigation heads to keep essential areas of the course alive during the summer.

Temporary sand bags at the dam at our irrigation lake
facilitates the capture of close to 2,000,000 gallons
of free flowing surface water that we can use for irrigation.

What Is GBGC Doing Now?

Currently we are examining and retro fitting all hoses on the property that are connected to the San Juan potable water system and making sure there are no open end hoses that can flow freely. Additionally we are quickly developing training protocol's for our Employee Partners detailing new procedures for cart and pavement cleaning which are prohibited in a stage 5 water emergency with a hose and water.  The MacKensie Grille and Tilleys will soon be offering drinking water by request only as outlined in a stage 5 emergency as well.  Because of dry conditions we still have to apply minimal amounts of water to certain areas of the course, but as I explained above  none of this water is from the San Juan Water District  but captured and stored in our own holding lake. 

Granite Bay Golf Club is fully committed to the necessary conservation efforts that are needed for all of us to get through this difficult year  as well as communicating those efforts to our members. 

As Always, Thank You For Your Continued Support

1 comment:

  1. Hang in there. We went thru some extremely dry summers in the past few years at my course in WNY. Have been thinking about the CA drought, so did some looking. Thanks for the post.