In June 2000, Western Hills Water District (the non-profit public entity which provides water to the Diablo Grande community) signed an agreement with Kern County Water Agency to contract for 8,000-acre feet of surface water annually from the California Aqueduct near the corner of Lower Oak Flat Road and Interstate 5. Water from the Diablo Grande Water Treatment Plant is stored in a 1 million gallon storage tank located on a hill above existing neighbors within the region.
Although revisions were made in 2010 to better represent the Diablo Grande community and to meet the minimum terms of their water needs, the terms of the 2010 water banking agreement state that water represented by the banked water credits can be purchased by Western Hills Water District when there is need—but at a costly price.
Philip Cyburt, CEO of Laurus Corporation (Community Developer Partner of Diablo Grande) said the drought has been a big issue at Diablo Grande for the past several months. Historically, the community uses about 1,200 acre-feet of surface water per year, 78 percent of which is used for the golf courses and the vineyard, while 17 percent is used for Diablo Grande’s residences and the clubhouse.
According to a release by the Diablo Grande Community Development Team, about 200 feet of water will be allocated for resident and community common area use while 200 acre feet of water will be allocated for golf course use. In effect, The Legends course will be closed while The Ranch course will remain fully operational.
So far, community members are forced to face a 20 percent drawback for water within their small community while Diablo Grande will have to cut back watering one of their courses.
Despite the initial drawback, Cyburt said at a ROA meeting on Feb. 12 that the community showed they understood the notion and were not deterred by the circumstances and proposal to disincline watering The Legends course.
“I think, on balance, the residents were delighted that we were not closing The Ranch course,” said Cyburt, Monday morning, March 24. “Given the location of it, it is the front door to the development. They understood what we have and what we’re facing. I don’t think anyone is happy to have something closed or changed from that standpoint, but I think the community appreciated that we are taking action to try to do our part in this whole process.”
Other conservation efforts include monitoring meters, water run-offs, leaking faucets and faulty sprinklers and pool draining. Citations and penalties will be issued for each violation.
“This drought is truly affecting our development going forward,” added Cyburt. “The major thing is this doesn’t go lightly on the ownership. We still have 1700 plus lots in phase one of Diablo Grande and we are just shy of 500 homes (currently 437). I want to make sure the community and the ownership is committed to creating a sustainable, quality lifestyle plan.”
Despite the on-going drought, Cyburt says there is an immense amount of interest in the Diablo Grande community. He added that over the next six to nine months, the market is expected to grow as there are already builders committed to the area. However, Cyburt hopes the drought will be a thing of the past in the near future.
As for the golf course, Cyburt doesn’t seem to think the amount of traffic heading up the canyon to play golf will slow anytime soon.
“There may be some initial fallout, but over time I think people will get used to playing The Ranch course,” he said. “I think the attraction to Diablo—given the canyons and how pretty it is—will still attract a high level of golfers. Both courses are great, but having The Ranch course there is an amenity to the region. We do think there will be a bit more crowding in regards to having one course open, but we feel we can manage and sustain those golfers on one course.”
Tournaments and rounds of golf already booked for The Legends will continue until The Legend’s links are no longer playable, which is currently estimated to be between April and May 2014. Scheduled tournaments will have the option to be re-booked for The Ranch course in its place.
In addition, Men’s and Women’s Club activities, special clinics and other events will continue on The Ranch course. No changes in daily fees (weekday and weekend) for The Ranch course are anticipated at this time.
According to Cyburt, there is just no telling when The Legends course will be reopened at this time.
“I don’t want to promise anything, but I think over the next six to 12 months we’ll take a look at it and see where we are at in regards to the overall development and to see what the situation is regarding the drought. We’ve been looking to keep both courses open, but really it’s been thrown onto us by this drought. We are victimized like everyone else. We just have to balance out these issues from Mother Nature and navigate our way back through.”
Contact Brooke Borba at 892-6187, ext. 24, or firstname.lastname@example.org.