San Jose Golf Course in Danger of Closing Due to Drought

California’s drought is continuing to put the squeeze on many South Bay businesses. One public golf course in San Jose is in danger of shutting down.

Cinnabar Hills, a public course in South San Jose, depends on surface water provided by the Santa Clara Valley Water District for its water supply. The district has been cutting off other users of its surface water, but Cinnabar is unique: it has no other options.

Cinnabar Hills Golf Club has been a popular member of the South Bay community for many years, but it depends on a steady supply of surface water from the water district to operate. Now there are concerns that water and time are running out.

Cinnabar Hills’ remote location makes it a popular place for golfers and the many community groups that hold their charity events there. But it also means it will take drastic measures to rescue the course from the drought.

Cinnabar Hills has done everything the water district has asked – and more – in terms of water conservation. There are brown patches throughout the 27-hole public course, but the water district says Cinnabar Hills uses about 50 acre feet of water a month. Two families of five use 1 acre foot a year.

"We do not have an alternative supply other than the surface water that the Santa Clara Valley Water County District supplies to us, and that's why we're working so closely with them,” Cinnabar Hills Manager Ron Zraick said.

The water district has cut off almost all other surface water users to protect its drinking water supply. Unlike other customers, Cinnabar Hills can't dig a well because there is no groundwater underneath, and it's far from any existing pipeline.

But NBC Bay Area has learned the golf course may get linked to the recycled water system.

"As of right now, the recycled water is about 5 1/2 miles from here,” Zraick said. “But we've had some very, very preliminary conversations with the water district about bringing recycled water to Cinnabar Hills, and certainly if we can do that, that's the future."

"Possibly, there would be a cost-sharing agreement that they could participate in to help give us the incentive to invest in a pipeline to get to them,” Water District Spokesman Marty Grimes said.

Some San Jose city leaders said they hope the golf course can benefit from some of their emergency water measures and plan to meet with the water district to see if they can manage to find an option.

The water district has not set a cutoff date yet.

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