U.S. Water News Online
TRENTON, N.J. -- The demand for golf courses has risen
steadily in recent years, and state officials say it's rare to see a
new housing development without one.
But each golf course consumes an average of 200,000 gallons of
water a day at a time when the state's water reserves are already
taxed by drought. New Jersey has 224 regulated golf courses, with
applications pending for 19 more.
``The majority of applications we review are for golf courses --
that's where growth for water demand is,'' said Robert Canace, chief
of hydrogeology for the New Jersey Geological Survey. ``From a
resource issue, this is tough.''
The state has started asking developers to come up with plans for
minimizing water use, such as computerized systems that siphon
floodwater from nearby streams and use no more water than necessary.
Raymond Cantor, assistant commissioner for the Department of
Environmental Protection, said golf courses may have to use treated
wastewater someday, saving cleaner water for drinking.
``We're not there yet,'' Cantor said.
Even so, the department has never rejected a golf course
application. Developers are so certain they will get their permits
that they start building golf courses even before they have approval.
``It becomes difficult to make changes,'' Cantor said.
The department planned to meet with the banking community and golf
course superintendents to discuss the risks of building without a
Cantor pointed to The Ridge at Back Brook in East Amwell as an
example of cooperation between a golf course and state officials.
Developers agreed to enlarge the course's irrigation pond to store
storm runoff from a nearby brook.
Matthew Mulhall, a consultant to the project, said that will spare
wells and help the state meet its goal of using the lowest-quality
water possible to maintain golf courses.
Meanwhile, township officials said the golf course saved hundreds
of acres of open space that would have been costly to preserve
``We saw this as an effective way to retire 300 acres without
buying it,'' said Diane Griffith, a member of the township planning
board. ``There is no residential component and no other amenities.''
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