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Golf Courses Told to Get Their Own Water

Permits for golf courses will only be handed out to entrepreneurs who will get their water from desalination plants or recycled water.

Given the recent drought, the Water Development Department (WDD) has recently rejected applications for new golf courses as well as upgrades for existing ones, on the grounds that they would not be using water from desalination or water recycling.

It has, however, given its permission for five golf courses to present their plans to the authorities, as it was satisfied with their water sources. They are being submitted by the Nicos Shacolas group, Aristo Developers and the Lanitis Group.

These plans would see the creation of a golf course in the Polis Chrysohous area, two in the Ha Potami area in the Paphos district, one in the Fasouri area of Limassol, and a fifth one close to Petra tou Romiou, near the existing Aphrodite golf course. All have made provisions for desalination units that will provide water not only for the courses, but also for accompanying housing units.

The WDD has rejected applications for two other golf courses, one of which came from the Paphos Bishopric. The Church of Paphos wanted to upgrade its existing golf course in the Tsada community.

The reasons cited for rejecting this application were that the plan involved watering the golf course from a borehole. The area is located a certain distance from the sea, thus making water transport from a desalination plant to the golf course expensive and impractical. Had the plan been accepted, the Paphos Bishopric would have automatically gained the right to create more than 1,000 housing units in the area, worth millions of pounds.

The WDD’s report states that “permits should not be given for golf courses which will be watered from boreholes, rivers or government dams”. The report went on to say that “priority will be given to golf courses which obtain their water from desalination and recycling schemes”.

The entrepreneurs that comply with these guidelines in their plans will then be allowed to put forward their applications to gain planning permission, a process which is estimated to take around 18 months. These applications should include detailed provisions regarding watering, development of the area as well as environmental considerations.

Last week, Agriculture Minister Fotis Fotiou announced that the water saving measures brought in for farming would also affect golf courses, with the government supplying them with just 30 per cent of the water they need.

These measures will come into action today.

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