Golf Industry Water Conservation Task Force

In the panic created by Southern California’s recognition of its permanent drought conditions, the Los Angeles City Council passed an Emergency Water Conservation Ordinance in June 2009 mandating immediate compliance with a stringent outdoor irrigation regimen – one restricting  irrigating to twice weekly (Monday and Thursday exclusively) and never within the hours of 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.  That mandate applied to all water users, including golf courses.

Understanding that compliance with the restrictions could spell the demise of many if not all of the 32 golf courses under the new ordinance’s jurisdiction, the united golf community approached Los Angeles Water & Power (LADWP) with a recommendation that golf courses be permitted an alternate compliance mechanism, one allowing those golf courses achieving demonstrable 20% annual reductions to achieve those reductions while managing their water application in any way they deemed fit.

In addition, a united golf community persuaded LADWP of the wisdom of developing a Task Force composed of representatives of the affected golf industry and staff members of LADWP’s Water Conservation Unit, the unit charged with the responsibility of enforcing the Emergency Water Conservation Ordinance.  The purpose:  To create and sustain an ongoing dialogue between the regulators and the regulated.

That Task Force, called the “Golf Industry Water Conservation Task Force,” now meets monthly.  In its short life, it has

  •  Devised the monitoring protocols and models for enforcing the Ordinance’s alternative enforcement mechanism
  • Begun work on an Environmental Stewardship Certification Program
  • Jointly hosted a region-wide educational symposium
  • Facilitated the receipt of rebates available to the industry
  • Opened dialogue on the development of market-based incentives for further water conservation.

Submitted by Craig Kessler

Craig Kessler is the executive director of the Public Links Golf Association of Southern California (PLGA). He is past chair of both the Los Angeles City Golf Commission and Los Angeles County Golf Advisory Committee, a member of Los Angeles' Griffith Park Master Plan Working Group and the Ventura Golf Advisory Council. A USGA Committee Member, Kessler is also a working committee member for the California Alliance for Golf (CAG) and a Long Beach Golf Hall of Fame inductee.