City Council approves plan to provide cheaper water to golf course - Ahwatukee Foothills News: News

City Council approves plan to provide cheaper water to golf course

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Posted: Sunday, October 20, 2013 6:45 am | Updated: 9:16 am, Fri Oct 25, 2013.

The Phoenix City Council has approved a plan that will allow the owners of Club West Golf Course to access less expensive water through abandoned reclaimed water pipelines.

Club West Golf Course has been using potable water from the city of Phoenix for irrigation of the golf course since 1998. That water is much more expensive than the well water used to keep the Foothills Golf Course green, and the cost of the water has put Club West in danger financially since the downturn of the economy.

Now, the city will allow the owners in Club West Golf Course to receive the same well water the Foothills Golf Course uses and transfer it through abandoned water pipes previously owned by the city.

It’s unknown how soon the pipes may be reactivated or if they will even work the way engineers expect them to, but Councilman Sal DiCiccio said he’s excited about the possibility. The agreement will save Ahwatukee Golf Properties a significant amount of money in water costs, which will keep the Club West Golf Course viable.

“All these golf courses are having financial problems,” DiCiccio said. “We’ll have given them the opportunity to allow it to be green and never have to be developed for housing. It has an extra layer of protection with deed restrictions but now it makes it even more difficult for them to try to develop it. It’s a huge win for that area.”

In the 1970s the city built the Foothills Water Reclamation Plant to deliver reclaimed water to golf courses being built in the area. As courses were developed the city entered into agreements to provide water from the plant to the Foothills Golf Course and Club West. At the time the courses had separate owners.

The water reclamation plant was shuttered in the late-1990s, according to the city of Phoenix, because of high operating costs and inability to produce enough water to meet seasonal needs. The pipelines serving both golf courses were abandoned and the city entered into an agreement with Club West to provide them potable water while Foothills turned to well water.

Now, Ahwatukee Golf Properties owns both Club West Golf Course and Foothills Golf so sharing the less expensive water from the Foothills makes sense for the owners — all that was missing was a way to transport it. The city’s lines provide the needed connection.

Ahwatukee Golf Properties (AGP) also owns The Lakes Golf Club, which was closed for business in May. Wilson Gee, owner of AGP said the golf course was costing money to keep open.

AGP is currently watering trees on the course and keeping the lakes filled, but the course is not open to the public. Because of CC&Rs set up when the community was built, the owners of the golf course cannot develop the land without consent from the neighborhood.

DiCiccio said he is working closely with the Save the Lakes organization, a neighborhood group fighting to keep The Lakes a golf course, and is just waiting to hear from them the next steps they would like to take.

DiCiccio’s office is also working on conversations with the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) to ensure that the wells that feed the Foothills and Lakewood will not be destroyed by the South Mountain Freeway. ADOT has not been able to provide specifics because they are not in the design phase of that project yet, but DiCiccio said he has been told by ADOT that they do not think it will be a problem to keep the wells.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com.

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