By Elsa Maxey
For some residents of Quail Valley, the topic of water brings up some of the continuing drying lakes at the city-owned golf course in Missouri City, which are now more waterless than when they were first taking notice about two months ago. At this point, several residents are saying they are not satisfied with what they say is the city’s attitude of “pray for rain” and live with it until then. After all, they maintain that the $17 million bond referendum voters passed was to purchase and improve the golf course property, but somehow it did not take into account the possibility of dried up lakes.
What they are really saying is that the city’s intention to impact the property values with the purchase of the golf course may have not been enough. That’s because they maintain the drying lakes are having an adverse impact on the value of their residential property, countering the very reason for the golf course property purchase.
City spokesperson Barbara Brescian told the “Star” that no golf course lakes are maintained using effluent water, that’s recycled treated water, and that it is only used for golf course irrigation. So, to fill the lake, the almost 16.5 acre Kiamesha Lake, with effluent water from the golf course irrigation system, “This would be accomplished by making modifications to the lake and applying for a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality permit, which would require installation of a 2-foot clay liner,” at a cost of $875,000. Already the city has passed on this information to residents.
The city also said that a plastic liner meeting certain criteria would cost the same or slightly more than a clay liner. So why wasn’t there a “fix” factored into that $17 million bond package that included golf course improvements?
The city states that the majority of the lakes were created in the 1970s, it purchased the golf property in 2008, and at the time of the bond election in 2008, the lakes had water. “This is not a situation we could have predicted,” said Brescian of the worst drought in Texas in more than 40 years.
According to the city, for over 20 years concerns have been raised about lake levels and there was even a study done in 2009 that concludes that lakes without a steady water supply will experience a fluctuation of water levels and not remain full all of the time. Increased reliability of ponds, it said, can be accomplished by several means including reducing their surface area or providing a more reliable water supply.
“If the city took responsibility for keeping all the amenity lakes in the city full, there would be many others that would have to be addressed,” Brescian said.
On a positive note, there have been very few complaints from the golfers, reports the city noting that April and May recorded record-rounds of play, and there have been a total of 48,943 rounds played so far this fiscal year through May. Mayor Allen Owen said the city expects to slightly exceed the break even point for the current fiscal year, which ends this month. “This success further validates the city’s purchase of the course that also added almost 400 acres of green space of recreational opportunities for citizens and visitors,” he said.
Missouri City acknowledges that the weather conditions these days are exceptional times with rain as the only viable option to assure a sustainable water level for the lakes after having reviewed several alternatives. Although the city did not make a suggestion to pray for rain, maybe the trickle from just the other day could have been in response to those that did.