The Saranac Inn Golf Club is in the process of applying for a permit from the state Department of Environmental Conservation that will authorize the withdrawal of up to 1,584,000 gallons of lake water per day from Upper Saranac Lake.
The water will be used to irrigate the club’s fairways and greens. Although the golf course has been pulling water from USL since 1912, this is the first time a permit has been required under a new state law.
The amount of water drawn on most days would be far less than the permit would allow. The proposed 1.6 million gallons was derived from the total capacity of the golf course’s pumps if they ran continually for 24 hours. The golf club’s engineer, Chazen Companies, estimates that 693,000 gallons is drawn on a typical watering day.
The amount of water seems like a lot, but it’s minimal considering the size and volume of water in the watershed. Upper Saranac Lake’s watershed encompasses 48,000 acres. The lake itself is 5,200 acres with a volume of approximately 1.5 million cubic meters of water.
Through collaborative efforts with the Adirondack Watershed Institute, the Upper Saranac Foundation has developed an extensive understanding of hydrological factors affecting the watershed. Beginning in 2007, instrumented stream monitoring data loggers have measured the inflow and the lake’s discharge. While the amount of water requested by the golf course may seem like a lot, it really is a very small fraction of the watershed’s water capacity.
Additional information about Upper Saranac Lake’s hydrology can be found in the UPPER SARANAC LAKE STATE OF THE LAKE REPORT at https://usfoundation.net/programs/lake-science/