10 January 2004

Valley of the Sun, not the Land of 10,000 Lakes

An interesting Arizona Republic letter to the editor submitted by Carl Paglia asking about the wisdom of eco-unfriendly golf course development in the desert.
My job takes me throughout the county, mostly to areas of new development. I see a disturbing trend with large planned communities and their artificial lakes and multiple golf courses.

It was my understanding that new courses were to be irrigated with treated effluent, but I've found that several new developments have dedicated wells on site and pump groundwater to irrigate these courses.

This water is not reclaimed, as a large part of it is lost to evaporation. In the face of a continuing drought we can no longer afford these excesses. Local agencies for planning and development and Arizona Department of Water Resources need to work more closely to make sure we don't squander this resource.

I've often heard the spiel about "reclaimed water" when I questioned all the existence of lavish golf courses using a great deal of water when residents are told to put a brick in their toilet to conserve.