Menlo Park’s exclusive Sharon Heights Golf & Country Club knows the value of reclaimed wastewater.
The golf course overseers also know California is nearing the day when it can no longer afford to allow pristine drinking water such as it currently gets from Hetch Hetchy to keep golf courses lush.
That’s why they are getting ahead of a decision that many water experts expect Sacramento to eventually hand down to ban the use of potable water for golf courses by partnering with West Bay Sanitary District to treat what the residents in exclusive enclaves such as Woodside, Atherton, and Portola Valley flush down their toilets so that it can be recycled to irrigate greens, fairways, and landscaping.
Details of the project expected to come on line by 2019 was outlined during Thursday’s Manteca Rotary Club meeting at Ernie’s Rendezvous Room by West Bay General Manager Phil Scott who resides in Manteca.
The City of Manteca is working on a water recycling masterplan that will allow it to use treated wastewater from the city’s plant to irrigate the Manteca Golf Course and other parks. While the city uses ground water currently to irrigate the golf course, pending groundwater use rules that require regions to balance aquifers by making sure as much water goes into them as is taken out will force a shift to non-potable water.
The Menlo Park golf course uses 152 acre feet of water annually. They are currently paying $2,500 an acre foot for water they use that flows from the City of San Francisco’s Hetch Hetchy project. The $15.5 million project would yield water costing $6,500 per acre foot. A revolving loan from a state fund at one percent interest plus outright state grants will lower the costs to the point water will cost Sharon Heights Golf & Country Club $4,100 per acre feet.
Scott said the golf course operators view the $1,600 increase per acre foot for water as a bargain of sorts.
“They’re fairly pleased,” Scott said. “It creates a new water supply and gives then a reliable source of water.”
During the current drought, golf courses in many regions of California have been forced to reduce watering. Using reclaimed water would allow them to avoid such a mandate.
During the off season when water demand drops, the excess water capacity will be sold to nearby homeowners association to irrigate landscaping as well as to Stanford University to help cool the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center.