Grass Is Still Green At Closed Stockton Golf Course Thanks To Riparian Water Rights

STOCKTON (CBS13) — Despite California’s drought, a Stockton golf course that hasn’t operated in years is still green.

The Lyons Golf Course, owned by the Port of Stockton, has been closed since 2009. It’s cut watering back to three days a week.

“Legally we can pump all the water we need to right now,” said environmental director Jeff Wingfield.

That’s true, according to the state water board, who says the port has riparian water rights because of its proximity to the water.

“If there’s a water shortage the state water board will curtail water rights, starting with the most recent ones,” said Tim Moran with the board.

Because the port owns property along the San Joaquin River, it is allowed to pump water from the river to use on its own land.

But why use the water if no one is golfing? The port spokesman said workers are maintaining the land for public events such as weddings.

Currently the state water board has cut back on junior water rights holders, but it’s rare to have senior ones like the Port of Stockton, cut.

The port says it’s always looking at new policies and ways to cut back on water use, but until the riparian rights holders are ordered to cut back, the golf course with no golfers will be staying green in the future.

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