Golf course green only in name?

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The Delta-Mendota canal at the San Luis Reservoir, where local golf courses get much of their water.

The state’s ongoing water issues could dry up supplies for local
golf courses.
The state’s ongoing water issues could dry up supplies for local golf courses.

The San Benito Water District has notified both Ridgemark Golf and Country Club and San Juan Oaks Golf Club that they may not receive any imported San Felipe water in 2008, course representatives confirmed today. But Ridgemark President Mark Davis and San Juan Oaks General Manager Scott Fuller emphasized that a complete cutoff is just one possiblity – Fuller described it as “the worst-case scenario.”

“It’s our hope that scenario is not going to happen,” Davis said.

Ridgemark and San Juan Oaks use the San Felipe supply from the San Luis Reservoir to water their courses. Imported water accounts for 85 percent of San Juan Oaks’ course irrigation, Fuller said.

In November, Water District Manager Lance Johnson said the county’s imported water supply is being limited by a recent court ruling to protect the delta smelt – a threatened two-inch fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta – as well as dry weather. The exact size of San Benito’s allocation won’t be known until April, May or June, he said.

The weather has been more cooperative recently, Davis noted, with a major storm rolling through California in the past week.

“The weather for the last five days had made a difference, and there are other things that could allow us to dodge the bullet,” he said.

Even if San Juan Oaks doesn’t receive any imported water at all, Fuller said the course will stay green by pumping more water from its wells.

“It’s a high-quality water supply, and we probably got a little spoiled,” Fuller said. “In the long term, it’s an important water source. However, we don’t need it.”

Ridgemark would also continue to irrigate its course, Davis said, but he added, “It probably wouldn’t be as green as people have gotten used to.”

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