Following up on an agreement made last year, the Palm Desert, Calif., club has begun using recycled water for irrigation, reducing the pumping of groundwater from an aquifer that has been declining. The Berger Foundation loaned the water district more than $2.2 million to complete the pipeline that officials say expedited the project by two or three years.
The Classic Club has become the latest golf course in the Coachella Valley to begin using recycled water for irrigation, a change that aims to reduce the pumping of groundwater from an aquifer that has been declining, the Palm Springs (Calif.) Desert Sun reported.
The Palm Desert, Calif., golf course began using a mix of treated wastewater and Colorado River water supplied by the Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) last week, the Desert Sun reported.
Late last year, C&RB reported on the club’s agreement to switch to the new water blend (“Classic Club Signs Agreement to Switch to New Water Blend”).
The 18-hole golf course, which is owned by the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation and opened in 2006, was originally designed and built to receive recycled water. Purple pipes that are used to carry non-potable water were included in the original infrastructure, the Desert Sun reported.
The Berger Foundation loaned the CVWD more than $2.2 million to complete a recycled water pipeline to the north side of Interstate 10 where the course is located. That loan helped pay for the work and has since been paid back by CVWD, the Desert Sun reported.
“We do a lot for our community and we wanted this to reflect the importance that we have for our valley, conserving water,” said Doug Vance, vice president of real estate for the Berger Foundation. Vance said the nonprofit agency invested about $1 million in the recycled water infrastructure, and recently paid about $110,000 to finalize work on the connection, the Desert Sun reported.
“The recycled water is getting pumped right into our sprinkler system,” Keith Einwag, director of agronomy said. This week, the course is in the process of flushing out the recycled water pipes to remove sand and debris that got into them during the startup process. That work, he said, should be done in the coming days, the Desert Sun reported.
The ponds on the course are being replenished when needed with groundwater, but the club will look into using recycled water for that purpose, the Desert Sun reported.
With the club now receiving a mix of treated sewage and Colorado River water, there are now 21-and-a-half golf courses in the Coachella Valley receiving such supplies, said Dan Farris, director of operations for CVWD. Twenty-nine-and-a-half other courses receive water from canals carrying Colorado River water, the Desert Sun reported.
The low-interest loan from the Berger Foundation to the water district was the only such agreement that CVWD has had with a private entity while extending supplies of recycled water, the Desert Sun reported.
Farris said the loan was used to help get the water to the course sooner. “It probably moved us up two or three years,” Farris said.
The course uses about 800,000 gallons of water a day, Einwag said, adding that the water district will sell recycled water at a rate roughly 15 percent lower than what the course was paying to pump well water. “We expect that to be a break-even number,” Farris said. “This gives them a budget in there so that they can break even with this transition.”
The CVWD next plans to connect pipes carrying recycled water this summer to the Desert Horizons Country Club in Indian Wells and The Lakes Country Club in Palm Desert, the Desert Sun reported.
Craig Kessler, director of governmental affairs for the Southern California Golf Association, said that while the Classic Club’s plans had been years in the making, its conversion to recycled water is in line with the aims of the golf industry’s newly created water conservation task force, the Desert Sun reported.
“We’re embarking on a long-term program of change when it comes to reducing the water footprint,” Kessler said.