SCGA Public Affairs


Monday, August 21, 2023

The SCGA is pleased to be one of the “supporting sponsors” of the “Colorado Basin Golf & WaterSummit” October 12 in Las Vegas, a conference organized initially and primarily by the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) but secondarily organized and supported by the SCGA and many more.

To get the latest information on the critical state of water from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the Southern California Metropolitan Water District, Coachella Valley Water District, Southern Nevada Water Authority, Arizona Water Authority, Colorado Department of Natural Resources, and others directly involved in recalibrating allocations from the Colorado Basin to reflect a river capable of supplying no more than 12 million-acre-feet per year.

The goals of the "Summit":

To explore what our industry should be doing to continue operating with less water.

To learn various ways to reduce water consumption while meeting golfers’ expectations.

To hear best practices in water reduction planning from golf course owners, operators, and peers.

To discover the irrigation technologies that have been proven effective, and the costs thereof.

To ascertain the resources that are available from the state and federal government to assist with these major capital investments.

To determine effective ways to communicate these changes to golfers so they understand the challenges and recognize and respect your efforts to use less water.

Given SCGA’s experience with two (2) successful Southern California Golf & Water Summits last year, one in the Inland Empire and another in the Coachella Valley, the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) turned to SCGA back in January for guidance on how they might do on a much larger level what the allied golf community did in Southern California.

The biggest morsel of guidance we gave NGCOA was to bring into the planning and execution mix as many of the game’s allied associations and organizations as they could muster. Suffice it to say (or write) that NGCOA followed that advice to the max.

Among the presenting sponsors and organizers are the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), USGA Green Section, PGA of America, and SCGA (more for the “guidance” and “organization” than resources). Among the “supporting sponsors” in addition to SCGA and the American Golf Industry Coalition (AGIC), the following major multiple course operators: American Golf Corporation, CourseCo, Touchstone, Troon, and Invited. No doubt more will sign on as we get closer to October 12.

The conference will open with presentations by those most knowledgeable of the federal and state issues that dictate what both face as the seven (7) states in the Colorado Compact come to terms with allocation formulae that Mother Nature requires be cut some 30% by 2026.

Current State of Policy - Federal Level

Jaci Gould, the Lower Colorado Basin Regional Director for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and Amy Ostdeik, Chief of Interstate, Federal, and Water Information Section for the Colorado Water Conservation Board, will offer attendees the latest update on federal water management policy and share its impact on the Colorado River Basin and regional planning decisions. Attendees will be briefed on what is required between now and 2026 to ensure the integrity of Lakes Mead and Powell and what will be called for in 2026, when current allocation formulae expire. They will also outline the federal funding available to the Basin States for the projects capable of offering long-term conservation strategies.

Current State of Policy – Lower/Upper Basin and State Level

Robert Cheng, PhD Assistant General Manager, Coachella Valley Water District

Amy OstdeikChief of Interstate, Federal, and Water Information Section, Colorado Water Conservation Board

Colby PellegrinoDeputy General Manager of Resources, Southern Nevada Water Authority

Sarah Porter Director, Kyl Center for Water Policy, Arizona State University

Deven UpadhyayAssistant General Manager & Executive Officer, Southern California Metropolitan Water District

The remainder of the day-long session will be devoted to the following subjects:

Best Practices – Short-Term and Long-Term Tactics

Impact of Reduced Water – Examining Our Options

Marketing to Your Golfers* — Customer-Minded Communications and PR Messaging Strategies

New Research — What’s on the Horizon?

* SCGA Assistant Public Affairs Director Kevin Fitzgerald is part of this panel.

The “Summit” is a one-day tack-on to something called “Tech Con” that NGCOA put on biannually prior to COVID and has resurrected post COVID – a 2-day national conference dedicated to all things associated with the business of golf. Given the traditional location (Las Vegas), the NGCOA recognizes that all things associated with the business of golf in the Southwest (really, the western half of the nation) must include all things associated with water – supply, access, cost, and most importantly, the investments and planning necessary to assure the first two and manage the third.

By bringing so many of the game’s leadership organizations together to produce the “Summit” the NGCOA and its allied partners are coming to the realization that we here in the southwestern edge of the Southwest came to many years ago:

No water = no golf courses = no golf clubs = no GM’s = no PGA golf professionals = no directors of agronomy = no golf course superintendents = no golf associations = no equipment sales = no business whatsoever.

There are many issues that suffuse those intersections of golf and public policy where SCGA Public Affairs operates, but water is the one issue that affects them all – not just all issues, but all types of golf clubs, properties, and courses. Dare we say that in a world that raises all kinds of challenges to the level of an “existential challenge,” water is the real deal – a challenge that golf fails to address head-on and meet successfully lest it shrink not just in public stature but shrink literally.

Click here for information about the Summit.

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