Friday, July 3, 2015

Drought Update

A article in last Sundays Sacramento Bee regarding a potential historic drop in Folsom Reservoir levels  really drove home the alarming reality of what we all face in Granite Bay and at the Golf Club. We all currently have a  36% water use reduction from the 2013 target year to comply with. However the worst case scenario if the reservoir is forecasted to drop below the 120,000 acre foot (AF) level is that the San Juan Water District (SJWD) along with other local districts can enact a Stage 5 Water Emergency in which no outdoor watering is permitted. Even though the article leads with the bad news, the article contained some positive notes that I have confirmed with my contacts at the SJWD.

As you can see the FR lake level is starting a step decline due to unanticipated increased releases.

 Most of the good news comes in the way of infrastructure improvements within the district. The SJWD planned and received approval for a pricey infrastructure project to pump back water from Sacramento Suburban Water District (SSWD) which has groundwater resources to share. This pump back agreement and the potential future merger with SSWD gives the district access to groundwater so they are not totally reliant on surface water from Folsom Reservoir. Another infrastructure improvement project that is nearing completion is a connection from the Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) which has surplus surface water and an agreement with the SJWD to deliver it in times like these. One positive thing in this arrangement for GBGC is the water delivered from PCWA can only be used for customers in Placer County.

In proactive category  the US Bureau of Reclamation is building and planning to deploy  the emergencybarge that will pump water from the middle of the lake to the intakes near the dam that feed the City of Folsom, Roseville and the SJWD who also wholesale's water to the cities of Citrus Heights, Orangevale & Carmichael. At 120,000 AF level in FR these intakes are compromised, hence the need for the barge.  This is good news for residents of these communities although if they are using or getting close to using the barge we would likely be at a Stage 5 Water Emergency which prohibits outdoor watering, not so good news for GBGC.

This is an image of a barge in lake Travis that is/was used for pumping
water to local communities. Perhaps similar to what is to be deployed in FR?

Current Conservation Levels

Currently GBGC is doing well on the 36% reduction mandate. Golf Course irrigation dropped slightly below the 36% mandate in June but will recover and be at the 36% mandate by the end of  July. On the aggregate of our potable meters at the clubhouse and GCM building we have acheived 40% savings from 2013 through May. One of the big conservation numbers the SJWD has to report is Residential Gallons per Capita per Day (R-GPCD) to the SWRCB. In May, SJWD's  R-GPCD conservation from 2013 was 49%. In June, a much warmer and drier month the R-GPCD was 40%. This is good news as our area is joining with all Californians and producing some good conservation results.

What GBGC is Doing and How You Can Help

It goes without saying that most of all of our water use comes in the hot summer months. The golf course is predominantly cool season turf that cannot survive without some water. To meet the conservation mandate we have the irrigation in certain areas of the course that are not directly in play turned down. As we did in 2014 we will step up our hand watering efforts putting irrigation water precisely where it is needed  to compensate for the reduced run time's from the automatic sprinklers. We have and will continue to apply high end wetting agents to soil areas that have become dry. These surfactants are an immense help in getting these soils wet again. Additionally we will have increased cart restrictions on days when the forecast temperature is above 100 degrees, and we plan to have additional holes roped off completely to cart traffic. We understand cart restrictions are a hardship for many, but the restrictions are temporary, and necessary to protect the turf during these difficult times.

What you can do to help is simple. When carts are allowed on the course drive on green turf. Don't drive on brown and stressed areas. Use the walnut shells and cart paths as much as possible. These simple measures will go along way in avoiding more cart restrictions during this summer of drought.

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