After allowing the Santa Fe, N.M., club’s “emergency request” last month to open a meter that would supply two private courses with city well water, the council agreed to continue water delivery for an additional 30 days.
Under an agreement approved by the Santa Fe City Council on August 8, two private golf courses at The Club at Las Campanas will get water delivered from city wells for another month, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.
For years, Las Campanas bought treated wastewater from the city to irrigate its golf courses, but it became a customer of the Santa Fe County water system this spring. Originally, the plan called for the county to supply the courses with Rio Grande surface water drawn through the joint city-county Buckman Direct Diversion. But, the river diversion had been shut off due to high levels of sediment from monsoon rains and a pipeline was unable to supply the courses, leading the county to ask to buy city water, the New Mexican reported.
Club & Resort Business reported on the club’s “emergency request” to open a meter that would create a direct link between the Buckman Well Field and the golf course in July (“Courses Get Creative to Deal with Drought”).
On July 25, the Council approved a two-week plan to open the meter. The city has pumped between 1 million and 1.3 million gallons of well water for the course every day since then. The city pumped about 9 million gallons a day for all purposes from its well fields, the New Mexican reported.
In 2005, the city agreed to sell a certain amount of water to the county, with city attorneys advising that they cannot deny a “reasonable” request from the county. Council member Ron Trujillo said he understood that obligation.
“I don’t want to get into litigations, but a golf course? We are going to water a golf course with a million gallons a day of good water, pretty much,” Trujillo said. “In my heart, I cannot vote for this.”
Golf Course Board of Directors member Charlie Nylander said the issue was about existing legal agreements, the New Mexican reported.
“The club has a legal agreement with the county, and the county has a legal agreement with the city,” he said. “If they had followed those agreements, there would be no extraordinary discussion of social issues of clubs or golf courses or well water for golf course irrigation.”
Councilors requested more discussion of returning to a practice of selling the club treated effluent two weeks ago, but the county did not agree with that plan. One reason some members favor selling the county the well water is so the city could deliver its treated effluent to farmers in La Cienega, which is south of the city sewage-treatment plant, and to a park to be constructed in a development on the city’s southwest side, the New Mexican reported.