Wakefield Valley residents last night overwhelmingly supported a Westminster golf course's request to use tens of thousands of gallons of additional water.
"If there's enough water there for everybody, give it to them," said Ray Bonin of Bell Road, echoing the sentiment of many of the other 35 residents and city officials who attended an informational hearing at Westminster City Hall.
Hank Majewski, owner of Wakefield Valley Golf Club, has asked the state for permits to drill new wells and pump an average of 178,000 gallons of ground water per day. The golf course now has a permit to draw 11,000 gallons a day.
Under Mr. Majewski's request, the amount of ground water would increase to 495,000 gallons per day in times of maximum use, typically during summer months.
Mr. Majewski said the golf course needs more water for irrigation, watering fairways and greens, filling ponds, and for the clubhouse and maintenance facility. He said the course needs more water to survive and to correct mistakes made in previous water appropriations.
"Wakefield Valley cannot exist without the approved water," Mr. Majewski said. "All we want to try and do is survive. Without this water, we cannot survive."
He said that during the 1991 drought the golf course nearly became a dust bowl because it didn't have enough water, and the facility, which provides thousands of dollars in amusement taxes to Westminster, lost revenue.
Although most residents supported Mr. Majewski's request, they agreed with Westminster city officials that conditions should be placed on water use during droughts.
Terry Clark, chief of the Water Rights Division in the Maryland Water Resources Administration, said public comment on the water request would be accepted through May 18.