MIKE KOOZMIN/THE S.F. EXAMINERSharp Park Golf Course is joining TPC Harding Park as using recycled water to irrigate greens and fairways. The Recreation and Park Department is the largest municipal user of water and the switch has helped reduce water usage by 15 percent.

Sharp Park course switches to recycled water as city hits savings goal

Sharp Park Golf Course in Pacifica, one of six courses in the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department's portfolio, will no longer use Hetch Hetchy drinking water to irrigate its greens and keep its fairways clean starting today.

City-owned Sharp Park is now on recycled water, delivered to the seaside golf course from a Pacifica wastewater recycling plant at nearby Calera Creek, officials announced Monday.

Of The City's six public golf courses, both TPC Harding Park — which has hosted major champions like Tiger Woods and PGA Tour events in the past — and Sharp Park are now using nonpotable water, as water has become all the more precious as the California drought enters its fourth year.

Recycled water will eventually be available throughout the western side of San Francisco, cleaned and made ready to use again at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission's wastewater treatment plant near the San Francisco Zoo. That project could be completed in the next few years, officials said.

But in the meantime, water-use restrictions in effect during the drought are not going away anytime soon. All city departments are under strict instruction to cut water use by 10 percent.

Municipal use is a tiny amount of The City's total — about 5 percent of the roughly 65 million to 70 million gallons of water used in The City per day, according to SFPUC, which manages The City's water.

Last winter, Mayor Ed Lee asked all water users in San Francisco to cut water use by 10 percent.

Thus far, after a slow start, both water customers in The City and the SFPUC's other customers throughout the Bay Area, including San Jose and Palo Alto, are hitting that goal, data shows.

Switching to recycled water has helped the Recreation and Park Department, The City's biggest municipal user, cut its water use by 15 percent, according to data presented Monday.

Seven years ago, The City's golf courses used 176,808 cubic feet of water. That's been reduced by half, to 86,701 cubic feet in the fiscal year that ended in June, according to SFPUC data.

While no municipal user citywide uses as much water as Rec and Park, nobody has cut their water use more.

The department has cut its water use by 15 percent, from 683,517 cubic feet from January to September 2013 to 579,351 cubic feet over that same time period this year. One cubic foot of water equals 7.48 gallons.

The City's four other courses, including one at Golden Gate Park and at Lincoln Park, rely on a combination of potable water and groundwater.

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