La Contenta: Golf course water ruling

Sean Janssen, The Union Democrat

A Calaveras County Superior Court judge ruled La Contenta Golf Club will have to make do with recycled water from Calaveras County Water District to irrigate the course.

The county's largest water provider does not owe damages to La Contenta Golf Club in Valley Springs for cutting off its access to raw water from New Hogan Reservoir. Furthermore, Judge Thomas Smith declared, CCWD has no obligation to keep providing the more valuable, better-quality water for irrigation purposes.

The same ruling, however, permits the course's claim to $1.8 million in sewer credits for future development to proceed to trial.

La Contenta sued CCWD in June 2011, saying the district shut off the course's access to the reservoir water a month earlier and it could no longer adequately irrigate the course.

CCWD countered that the golf course had an agreement with the district to accept recycled water for irrigation purposes and had notbeen taking the contracted amount.

A six-page ruling from Smith on Oct. 17 found in favor of the district, in that the contract "permits CCWD in its 'sole discretion' to make New Hogan water available to La Contenta."

La Contenta General Manager Marty Davis declined to comment on the ruling Thursday as he had not yet seen a copy of it. Davis said he will be discussing the matter with the golf course owners in coming days.

"At this point, I know CCWD has agreed not to turn off the water because of the damage it would do," Davis said.

CCWD attorney Matthew Weber said the district maintains its stance that no damage has or will come from a cutoff of the reservoir water but agreed that it is available at this time.

"This year, they've used more of the recycled water," Weber said. "This season, they've used very minimal raw water if any at all."

The 2008 agreement at issue calls for $1.8 million in credits to La Contenta in return for taking the recycled water. The trial will determine if the course is entitled to all or part of that amount as CCWD asserts that the course accepted only a fraction of the water it agreed to take.

A news release this week from CCWD also sought to ease concerns from the course's neighbors regarding the effect of its temporary cutoff of the New Hogan water.

"CCWD also wishes to inform users of the golf course and those living nearby who have called CCWD and the county about odors from the golf course ponds that the ponds have not contained treated (sewage) nor were they affected by the brief termination of New Hogan water to the course. The odors developed due to a lack of air in the ponds and the decay of organic materials," the release said.

The county ordered the golf course to employ standard aeration practices during the summer, the CCWD statement said.

The Union Democrat
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