MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A stop to pumping water from Minneapolis’ Hiawatha Golf Course into Lake Hiawatha could end golf and flood basements.
“As long as they’re pumping, our basements are all dry,” homeowner Stephanie Kubesh, who lives across the street from the course, said.
The trouble started when Minneapolis Parks and Recreation planners were trying to figure out how to rebuild Hiawatha Golf Course after it flooded in June of 2014.
Water pumped from the course to Lake Hiawatha just went right back.
“The problem with that is that it doesn’t just get pumped in there and then just go away. Some of it seeps back in, and so you get this kind of circular pattern that’s happening,” Kubesh said.
Michael Schroeder of Minneapolis Parks and Recreation said there is quite a difference in residency time of water between Hiawatha and other city lakes.
“It’s like four to 11 days [for Lake Hiawatha]. When we compare that to Lake Calhoun it’s four years. So water is coming through from the creek all the time,” Schroeder said.
They discovered during their research that they were pumping out 263 million gallons of ground water annually. That is more than seven times the amount they are allowed.
If pumping stops, that could mean no more golf course — and 18 homes near the course could deal with flooded basements.
“We don’t have an upstairs, so it would take away half of our house if we couldn’t use our basement anymore,” Kubesh said. “And where would we put our furnace and all the stuff that’s in most people’s basements?”
There are more questions than answers at this point, as officials look for a fix that keeps the course open and homes dry. But there are temporary solutions being explored.
“I think they’re going to be applying for a permit that will find some new normal. The problem is is that if the permit isn’t for how much they’ve been pumping, it could have serious impacts with our properties. We just don’t know what that’s going to be yet,” Kubesh said.
The Department of Natural Resources ultimately determines who may pump groundwater and how much.
The park board is working with the city and Minnehaha Creek Watershed District to explore options for the situation involving both continuing to pump and turning off the pumps. The board says they are a long way away from finding a permanent solution.