The Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club would like to keep its greens well-watered; Menlo Park would like to help, it seems. The city has called a community meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 24, to discuss the club's proposal to build a groundwater irrigation well in Nealon Park.
According to city staff, using the well's non-potable water to irrigate the golf course, and schools and parks next to the pipeline, could save about 60 million gallons of potable water a year.
The park, located at 800 Middle Ave., has its share of neighbors who are less than thrilled with the plan. In a letter to city officials, Elizabeth Houck challenged the city's assertion that the well could save water, saying only the source of irrigation would change, not the amount. Tapping a public aquifer to service a private club runs the risk of depleting local drought reserves for the benefit of only a few, she wrote.
JoAnne Wilkes, who lives next to the park, questioned whether the plan even conforms to regulations governing the use of open space districts such as Nealon Park.
Former mayor and environmental advocate Steve Schmidt added his comments to the chorus of concern.
"The fundamental question lies in the wisdom of drilling for ground water anywhere and at any time and especially if the driving force behind this idea is to irrigate a golf course," he said. "I presume there would be extensive testing of the ground water affected by this well and the potential impacts on the aquifer underlying Menlo Park."
The Aug. 24 meeting will be held at the Arrillaga Family Recreation Center at 700 Alma St. in the Civic Center.