PLEASANTON -- The city is slashing use of scarce drinking water in the drought by irrigating its Callippe Preserve Golf Course with recycled water trucked in from a local sewer plant.
Delivering some 16 to 18 tanker truckloads of recycled water each weekday isn't cheap. But city officials say it's an effective way to keep the course functioning while conserving potable water.
"We've cut way back on water use at the golf course," said Scott Peterson, a supervisor in Pleasanton's utility division.
To be sure, the city is under pressure to conserve. The drought has saddled the Tri-Valley with some of the harshest water shortages in the Bay Area because of the area's heavily reliance on State Water Project allocations, slashed 95 percent this year.
In early May, the City Council set stiff financial penalties for residents who fail to cut water use at least 25 percent.
Meanwhile, earlier this month the city began using two rented tanker trucks to deliver recycled water from the Dublin San Ramon Services District sewer plant in northern Pleasanton to the Callippe course in southern Pleasanton.
Trucks unload the treated effluent into a pond where it is pumped into the golf course irrigation system.
City officials said the new water source has helped golf course operators use only a small fraction this summer of the roughly 1 million gallons per week of tap water it used in the past.
Course water use was cut in half by cutting back on irrigation, Peterson said, and the recycled water deliveries provide some 300,000 to 350,000 gallons of water a week.
On some cooler days, the recycled water is enough for the whole course. On other days, and especially during hot weather, the city uses some regular city tap water for the course, Peterson said.
Parts have turned yellow and brown, but the course has remained open for business in the Happy Valley area of Pleasanton.
"I think of lot of golfers are understanding because they have had to cut back their own water use at home," said Jake Saito, the Callippe course head pro. "Some golfers who live in other communities without the same water shortages (as Pleasanton) wonder why we have to cut back."
Golf course business was down slightly in June, but a drop was expected because the city is renovating some golf holes, Saito said.
In Livermore, the city doesn't need to truck in water to its course. For years, recycled water has been piped directly to Las Positas Golf Course.
"Fortunately, the Livermore sewage plant isn't too far from the golf course," said Dan McIntyre, the city's public works director.
Pleasanton's golf course, meanwhile, is in a valley far from any sewer plant or recycled water pipeline.
Earlier this year, Val Vista Park -- near a sewer plant -- became the first Pleasanton park to rely on piped in recycled water for irrigation. That project will save an estimated 18.5 million gallons of water a year.
Pleasanton officials said they won't know until later this year how long they will need to keep trucking water to the golf course.
Contact Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267. Follow him at Twitter.com/deniscuff