24 March 2007

Sky Full Of Jets

The bizjets are really streaming in. It's an LPGA (Ladies' Professional Golfing Association) tournament at one of the 100+ golf courses in the area. We have some very fine golf courses, at which many tournaments are played, and we have some average golf course and we, probably, have some poor golf courses, but the local golfers seems to love them all and play as much as they can.

However, our golf courses are more than just manicured venues for cow-pasture pool. They're part of the Coachella Valley flood control system. There's at least one municipal course that's mostly in a usually-dry riverbed; the planted course reduces erosion when the Whitewater River is in full spate.

Most of the courses, however, are flood control systems for their surrounding housing developments. They're carefully laid out much lower than the houses, which has advantages in limiting the flight paths of balls, making pretty views, and being run-off channels. The planted channels slow the flow and greatly reduce damage. It's not perfect, of course, since desert storms, although infrequent, can drop a lot of water. The tract we live in had several holes damaged badly a couple of years ago, when we had several rainstorms that dropped over an inch of rain each. We've got one low-lying stretch of road (a ford, actually) that's still being repaired from damage that happened last year.

The other thing that makes golf courses in the desert more sensible than you'd think is that they're watered with recycled water. It's been through the treatment process and is quite safe, but it isn't the final, sparkling pure potable water that recycling can produce. Since it's going to be used for agriculture it doesn't have to be potable. Watering the golf courses has the advantage of refilling the shallow aquifers, which helps native plants. Of course, taking out the tamarisk all over the valley would help them even more but no one has come up with an equally good wind screen, so some of them will have to stay. The rest are going. It's really good firewood, too.

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