Let the desert be the desert.

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Let the desert be the desert. Diane9247 9/9/07 7:00 PM
With all that's been learned the hard way about water conservation, building more golf courses in the desert is horribly indulgent. California and the entire Southwest face dire water shortages in the years ahead. There is NOT a shortage of places to play golf. I understand this spot would be a cheaper alternative to retirement in Palm Springs or the coast, but, really, for the good of all, we can't afford this kind of thing anymore.
Re: Let the desert be the desert. hotwellian 9/11/07 6:15 PM
Similar to the developments in Southern Spain which are helping desertification there.

Report here
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Re: Let the desert be the desert. Diane9247 9/11/07 7:27 PM
Horrible. Thanks for the link, I had not heard of that. It's all so depressing, isn't it?

PS: Love the new avatar. There, I feel better.
Re: Let the desert be the desert. Noisette 9/12/07 2:19 AM
I was reading a article about the Iberian lynx only yesterday: BBC News. There's a video as well.

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Re: Let the desert be the desert. Diane9247 9/12/07 6:58 PM
Noisette - What a sad article. I've been reading quite a lot lately about the impending demise of many wild cat species.

I did an image search - "desert golf" - and up came an enormous array of websites for golf resorts on every desert you can think of. Of course, I'm well aware of the green pavement all over the driest parts of California, but I was most surprised by these:

Update 1/17/08: I just noticed that the following 2 links no longer work, for some reason. Oh well, sorry!
Sahara Desert golf course, Tunisia
Golf Luxor, Egypt (below) Imagine! On a continent where so many people drink filthy water and might walk miles to get it.

Namib Desert's teenage golfers. Now, THIS is the way to play desert golf. Nice article in China Daily about some local boys who are opposite in every way to the usual players of "the rich man's game." No grass, no water, used clubs. In my search, I ran across several examples of real desert golf in several countries, including the US and Australia. So, it might not be rich-man style, but it can definitely be done.
Re: Let the desert be the desert. Hale 9/13/07 1:44 AM
Hi Diane -

Please tell me about golf courses in the desert -- do they try to grow grass on the fairway? (That would seem like an indulgence!) California is thought of by many of us Easterners as doing extensive landscaping with trees, schrubs and lighting. Are these desert golf courses like that?

A desert would seem to be be an ideal place for a "desert-natural" kind of golf course.

We build golf courses near beaches in the Carolinas ... there scads of them at and surrounding Myrtle Beach. They have also built many theatres like the ones in Branson - with the same types of shows as at Branson - the golf courses and theatres allow them to promote Myrtle Beach as a year-around resort!

I know they moved earth around in building these new courses, and changed topography but I don't know how much fresh water they would need with the landscaping as it is.

From where do your desert golf courses get their water?

Re: Let the desert be the desert. Diane9247 9/14/07 2:21 AM
Greetings, Hale!

The California desert courses have been given the full treatment, as you can see:

These three are just a few of many resorts in Palm Desert, CA.

Probably the most famous desert golf courses in the US are in Palm Springs, CA. For the richest golfers and stomping grounds of the old Hollywood stars of the 50s and 60s.

From the introductory paragraph in an article in Travelgolf.com, 2003:
Being distinctive in the California desert is a challenge. After all, the Palm Springs area is packed with more than 110 golf courses from the high-priced private clubs to munys (sic) a retiree on a budget can afford.


And from US Water News, 2003:
Palm Desert, Calif., -- In the middle of the Southern California desert, resort guests can travel by gondola to waterfront bistros, homeowners can waterski on a manmade lake, and golfers can tee off at more than 100 courses made lush and green from constant watering. How much longer can this go on?..."We've gone from being assured that we live in this magical place where the rules of water didn't apply, [to] a wakeup call about the fact that we do live in the California desert," said Buford Crites, a 17-year member of the Palm Desert City Council. "People have lived in this false water utopia."

The drought was already serious enough by April, 2003, to inspire the federal government to order the reduction of Colorado River water drawn by California. Seven western states get water from the Colorado River, and California has taken "more than its fair share" for many years. The feds ordered the states to redistribute the water fairly, which they failed to do, so in Dec., 2003, the government cut California's share by 15%.

Not to be outsmarted, golf resorts have drilled into the underground aquifer. Many developments, farms and resorts had already been using wells, so the additional draw is depleting the aquifer by over an inch per year. "But whether the valley finds more water or not, there will probably be no more projects like [the] Desert Springs Marriott, where guests ride gondolas to feast on ahi steaks by the edge of a sprawling lake," said councilman Crites.

Well, that's good news, anyway!

Oh - I'm not a golfer. I'm of the same opinion as Mark Twain: "Golf is a good walk ruined."
Re: Let the desert be the desert. saellis 9/25/07 12:47 PM

From where do your desert golf courses get their water?


Colorado is the where most of it comes from. If the drought continues or worsens and the U.S population keeps growing we will see some huge court battles to allow the theft of Colorado water to continue.
"Fortitudine Vincimus"
Re: Let the desert be the desert. Diane9247 9/27/07 2:07 AM
Hello Saelis,

Yes, that's sure to happen. It would be so much easier to stop the stupid use of water! I get discouraged, though, when I read comments (in GEC and elsewhere) from people who think conservation or environmental science of any kind is some kind of "liberal" plot.

Another tidbit: I live in No. California, and there has always been resentment that "our" water is piped down to the agricultural central valley of CA (which is actually a desert) and waters lawns in L.A.

Hmmm, I see new water wars ahead.
Re: Let the desert be the desert. saellis 9/27/07 1:20 PM
As mother always said, "Waste not, want not." Nothing liberal wacky there. Just good common sense.
"Fortitudine Vincimus"
Re: Let the desert be the desert. Groovy23 6/6/08 6:15 AM

The Kern river runs dry. Declining snowfall in the Sierra Nevadas has reduced the run-off into state rivers by half

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Governor of California, raised the spectre of emergency water rationing throughout the state for the first time in its 160-year history amid a severe drought that some are blaming on global warming.

The drought is expected to push up food prices further as the farmers in Central Valley - the US's primary source for tomatoes and grapes, among other food products - write off their crops because of a lack of water to irrigate them. The US Bureau of Reclamation has already said that it will cut water supplies to some Central Valley areas to less than half the usual levels.

Scientists have long claimed that a big fall in the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains caused by rising temperatures could leave parts of the state - including Los Angeles - uninhabitable by the end of this century. The run-off from this melting snow keeps many of California's rivers flowing and supplies the state with water during summer.

Measurements taken last month found that the Sierra Nevadas were holding 69 per cent of average winter's snowfall. Meanwhile, run-off into the state's rivers was at 55 per cent of a normal year, while the big reservoirs were at 50 to 60 per cent capacity at a time when they should be full.

At a news conference this week Mr Schwarzenegger - known for his progressive environmental policies - declared the drought to be official and told Californians that they “must recognise the severity of the crisis we face” by cutting their water use by a fifth. It is the first time a statewide drought has been declared in 17 years. “There is no more time to waste because nothing is more vital to our economy, our environment and our quality of life,” the Governor said.

Mr Schwarzenegger is using the drought to promote a $12 billion (£6 billion) bond issue that would fund new dam projects. The scheme is opposed by Democrats, who argue that conservation is more important. Although California has suffered drought-like conditions for several years, this winter was one of the driest on record. Rainfall in the Golden State during the winter months was 1.2 inches, or 22 per cent of the average for the 114 years since records began.

Conditions could become even more serious if there is another dry winter. “We need at least above normal in terms of our snowpack, and then we're still going to be tight,” Lester Now, director of the state's water resources, said. “The idea is to put programmes in place now to soften the impact in 2008 and to prepare for a potential third year of drought in 2009.”

Mr Schwarzenegger is demanding that residents and water managers cut water use or face rationing next year. Aside from destroying crops, he said, the unusually dry conditions were harming water quality and causing extreme fire hazards - as was seen this week when part of Universal Studios in Los Angeles burnt down.

While the state's water supplies are dwindling its population is rising, largely thanks to immigrants from Mexico. Until recently, southern California could simply ship in water from the north to help to ease a drought. But last year a federal judge ordered more of northern California's water to be left in the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta to aid declining fish populations.

“We're suffering the perfect storm, if you will,” Timothy Quinn, head of the Association of California Water Agencies, said, adding that the state had never resorted to such rationing. “The purpose of the Governor's declaration is to send a wake-up call.”

Times Online

Time to build more golf courses?
Google Makes The Go Round!

Re: Let the desert be the desert. Farceur 6/12/08 9:53 AM
G'day Diane and all.

Us Melbournian's have been enduring what our state government call's Stage 3a water restriction's since April 2007. After declining steadily for the past few year's the current dam capacity sitting at 29.5%.
Pretty sad that there is no more running around jumping over the garden sprinkler's anymore. That's all just a memory of the "olden day's".

Here is a picture of a Coober Peedy Golf course hole with it's "sand scrape's" instead of green's. If you can't get bore water just pour a heap of used engine oil on to the sand to stop it blowing away and you have yourself a "black" green.

Cheer's all.
A sense of humor is a major defense against minor troubles.
Mignon McLaughlin

F&G means Fun and Games not frustration and grief.

Re: Let the desert be the desert. Diane9247 11/29/08 11:06 PM
Farceur -

Here is a no-frills course with a smattering of green at Roxby Downs, SA, Australia. I wonder if it still looks this way. This town seems to have something for every sports enthusiast - but that's understandable, considering where they live.

Re: Let the desert be the desert. spotter2 3/13/09 2:03 PM
There's another factor that's often overlooked about desert communities. They drill wells and lower the water table, this has had catastropic results already. The level of underground water determines which waterholes and desert springs will flow, when you lower the underground aquifer by even a few inches, you are causing the death of dozens of desert oasis and springs. There are many dead and dying springs and waterholes in the Mojave already, and at some of those springs there were totally unique insects, plants, and probably fish and amphibians. When you lower the aquifer you are exterminating the unique species that used to survive in only that one micro ecology in the whole world.
Worse yet is the waste that's being pumped underground, it will mingle with the underground flow of water and surface miles away, in some unmonitored desert stream or pool.
I've been out there since I was a teenager, I've seen the loss of several springs that used to support primitive indian tribes over sixty thousand years ago. Now they're dry. I've seen phosphate stains and smelled gasoline fumes in underground springs that were pure and pristine, now the animals avoid them.
On GE you can see how around some desert towns the surrounding area is barren and dead, but I assure you, it's not supposed to look that way. It's the loss of underground water, the towns suck it up like a sponge.
At least some people have started to wake up about how extensive the damage is and alert the state and federal "authorities" on various levels, I hope it does some good.
Secrecy begets Tyranny
Re: Let the desert be the desert. JavaGAR 3/13/09 5:30 PM
The following information from the United States Geological Survey demonstrates how removal of groundwater can reduce the quantity of water in nearby bodies of surface water.

Ground water occurs in the saturated soil and rock below the water table. If the aquifer is shallow enough and permeable enough to allow water to move through it at a rapid-enough rate, then people can drill wells into it and withdraw water. The level of the water table can naturally change over time due to changes in weather cycles and preciptiation patterns, streamflow and geologic changes, and even human-induced changes, such as the increase in impervious surfaces on the landscape.

The pumping of wells can have a great deal of influence on water levels below ground, especially in the vicinity of the well, as this diagram shows. If water is withdrawn from the ground at a faster rate that it is replenished, either by infiltration from the surface of from streams, then the water table can become lower, resulting in a "cone of depression" around the well. Depending on geologic and hydrologic conditions of the aquifer, the impact on the level of the water table can be short-lived or last for decades, and it can fall a small amount or many hundreds of feet. Excessive pumping can lower the water table so much that the wells no longer supply water—they can "go dry."

from USGS: Aquifers
Best Regards,

Re: Let the desert be the desert. Cory Brown 3/15/09 12:04 PM
Here in Florida the courses were forced to cut back on watering and it was devestating to the courses that used city water. The ones that have thier own feeding tanks don't have to worry about how much water they use becuase it goes right back into the tanks when absorbed by the soil. It's all in how the course is built and fed.
Re: Let the desert be the desert. Diane9247 3/15/09 6:47 PM
spotter and Java -

I am shocked. Regarding depression in the vicinity of a well, I needed look no further than out my back door to see an example! Of course, I had not noticed this before and was astounded to see it after reading your posts. I am also about 1000' from a river and everyone in the vicinity has a well - the only way to get water here. So my own situation looks just like your illustration, Java. Most homeowners live on an acre, much of it covered in lawn, which needs watering all summer in this dry climate. I think I need to re-assess my self-righteousness regarding golf courses! frown

The river is substantial in size, as is its source, but this makes me wonder what lies ahead in my small part of the world. oconfused