The Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians has survived in the Temecula, Calif., area by making use of the water in the region’s creeks, which ebbed and flowed depending on the strength of rainy seasons. The 18-hole golf course at the Pechanga Resort & Casino uses a similar philosophy toward water use, by “conserving what we have and not wasting.”
Danny Ibañez, 36, is the course superintendent at Journey at Pechanga, the 18-hole golf course at the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, Calif. He’s also a member of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, and is using his tribe’s philosophy toward the Earth to inform irrigation decisions, the Riverside County, Calif.-based Press-Enterprise reported.
Ibañez’s people have lived in the Temecula Valley area for generations. They survived, in part, based on how they made use of the water in the region’s creeks, which ebbed and flowed depending on the strength of rainy seasons, the Press-Enterprise reported.
“In our eyes, if there is water to be given, we would much rather use that than purchase water elsewhere,” he said. “It’s a part of who we are: first and foremost conserving what we have and not wasting.”
Such is the outlook for one rooted in modern science and tribal culture—much like the course he tends every day. Ibañez, who has been working at the course for six of its eight years of existence, has a bachelor’s degree in turf grass management and agronomics from UC Riverside. Though the course opened in August 2008, the Luiseño people consider it 10,000 years in the making. The name comes from the Luiseño word “pomniv,” meaning “the path that was once traveled,” the Press-Enterprise reported.
Ibañez’s work, which has been more challenging lately because of the drought, includes testing the saturation of the soil at various spots on the course and making sure it is in the proper range. He is assisted by modern electronics and the design of the course, which features two large lakes situated to capture rainwater—a reflection of the tribe’s ecological outlook, the Press-Enterprise reported.
“We take the water from the rain and through the mountain and lead it right back into the lake itself rather than into a storm drain,” he said.
There’s some art to the job as well. Ibañez said he walks much of the course early each day to inspect the greens and fairways, the Press-Enterprise reported.
Design Makes the Difference
• Journey at Pechanga has two large lakes that store 18,443,190 gallons of water. Individually, Lake 5 holds 10.3 million gallons and Lake 15 holds 8.2 million gallons.
• Greenskeepers begin to reduce the lake levels one to two months in advance of the anticipated rainy season. During that time, they irrigate the turf as needed with lake water and do not refill the lakes. With a heavy rainstorm, they can catch water to partially or completely fill the lakes. Because the course is saturated after heavy rain and lower temperatures, they do not need to irrigate frequently. This can last greenskeepers to the onset of summer.
• The lake surface is about 7.1 acres. Depending on rainfall (typically .25 inch to 1 inch) the lakes can hold on average 46,270 gallons to 185,083 gallons (not including natural drainage and runoff). A heavy event (typically 4- 6 inches) can produce 771,182 gallons to 1,156,773 gallons (not including natural drainage and runoff).
• When the lakes are full, they hold enough water to meet the daily water needs of 61,477 households of four. That’s equivalent to satisfying the water needs of all Pechanga Resort & Casino’s 517 hotel rooms and suites for 217 days, or more than two times the population of Temecula for one day.
• When not using the lake water, greenskeepers use recycled or reclaimed water for irrigation, but they can use less of it (about 50 percent less) than most golf courses because the course operates with 75 acres instead of the California average of 105 – 32 percent fewer acres than the average course and 32 percent fewer acres to water.