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Golf Course Owners On Short End Of Water Rights Decisions In California Drought

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Ian Schwartz Ian Schwartz
Ian Schwartz comes to the great state of California from Albuquerque,...
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WOODLAND (CBS13) — Those who run local golf courses are quite concerned about what the drought could do to their bottom line, as water levels are far from par for the course.

The courses rely on one thing: a green and pristine landscape. But California’s drought could threaten to take that away.

“We have to keep grass alive for us to have happy members,” said Kurt Voghel with the Yolo Fliers Golf Country Club. “That’s our business.”

The crews at the Woodland course say they’ve been about as patient as they can waiting on the rain. The drought is making it tough to keep the grass green.

Voghel says three years ago almost all of their water came from a canal. But the course has been cut off from that water source because they don’t hold long-standing water rights. That means they’re in the back of the line during the drought.

Instead of the surface water that trickles down from the Sierra, the golf course has spent a lot of money to get groundwater wells going again. One reaches nearly 600 feet down for water.

A lot of golfers here understand the water struggle. Jim Borchard is a farmer in the same boat, wondering how long they can rely on wells in a drought.

“So far so good, but water levels are dropping. So knock on wood,” he said.

Voghel says they should be fine over the summer, but if the drought continues next year, it could get pricey to maintain the wells that will be working overtime.

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