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Is the grass always greener?

Many people in the past played a golf game to cement a business deal, didn’t they? They also played golf to socialize. Has Boulder City recognized lessening play on golf courses? Or, from another perspective, what happens when million-dollar homes are placed around our open space golf course with views of the McCullough Mountains? Do fewer people play golf on the Boulder Creek golf course?

Humanity is not comprised of the same type of human beings we have been in the past. The Internet with remote communication has changed human beings. We are now less able to talk to each other fluently and we have a lessening desire to speak with each other. These aspects of human behavior can be attributed to the reasons why people play golf, can’t they? What happens if golf play declines along with the revenues required to pay for the upkeep of the golf course? Let’s toss in a declining level of Lake Mead. What is the future of any sport that requires large amounts of irrigation for turf?

Meanwhile, according to an April 18, 2024, story in the Review-Journal, the Nevada Supreme Court upheld a $48 million award to the owner of Las Vegas’ defunct Badlands golf course, as part of a long-running land-use dispute with the city. The availability of water is also increasingly becoming more difficult to forecast, isn’t it? What potential liability does Boulder City have when it sells land to private interests surrounding a public golf course?

I moved to Boulder City in 1981 to accept a promotion from the Bureau of Reclamation. I quickly set about learning the details of the Colorado River. I was elected to the city council in 1985. Subsequently, I was appointed to represent the city on the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) Board of Directors as well as the Colorado River Commission (CRC). Creating an advantageous water perspective in anticipation of further water conservation on the Colorado River is critical to the future of Boulder City.

In 1958, the El Dorado Fort Mohave Valley Transfer Act was signed into law. At that time, the CRC determined all uses of the Colorado River within the state of Nevada. The CRC commissioned a report published in October 1960 entitled “Master Plan for the Development of the El Dorado Valley as an Industrial Community”. That report anticipated 100,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water would likely be needed for the development of the El Dorado Valley. An acre-foot of water is almost an entire football field one foot deep, or about 326,000 gallons.

Subsequently, the SNWA became a political subdivision of the state of Nevada created on July 25, 1991, by a cooperative agreement of seven local water and wastewater agencies to address water issues on a regional basis. The CRC was usurped by the SNWA to give Boulder City an initial allocation of approximately 18,000 acre-feet. That allocation was for the original 31 square miles that the city contained in 1991. The El Dorado Valley was not purchased until July 1995. How much more water did Boulder City receive as a member of the SNWA following its purchase of the El Dorado Valley? None.

That’s correct, Boulder City did not receive an additional allocation of water even though the CRC anticipated an allocation of 100,000 acre-feet was required to develop the valley. How much water has Boulder City therefore conserved? It is clear that a significant amount of water has been conserved by Boulder City purchasing the El Dorado Valley instead of Clark County or Henderson since Boulder City is the only purveyor that has growth control. Had the land been purchased by any other of the seven purveyors of the SNWA, unlimited development and growth would be occurring as it is throughout Clark County.

Our city is unique since it has no gaming while having growth control. How can Boulder City claim its outstanding success in water conservation? Boulder City is now approximately 215 square miles. By measuring consumptive water use compared to total size of each purveyor, Boulder City would likely come out in first place among the seven purveyors for water saved, wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t consumptively-used acre-feet of water / total square miles of any purveyor be more advantageous to measuring the water conservation success of Boulder City?

Southern Nevada will likely have greater water shortages declared on the Colorado River. Why not establish an advantageous measure to credit Boulder City for its outstanding success in water conservation? Also, can Boulder City assure it has no liability when approving residential construction around the Boulder Creek Golf Course?

Eric L Lundgaard, President, Aquarian Theosophy Foundation Former mayor and council member 1985 to 1997

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