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The Resort at Pelican Hill

The Irvine Company’s extensive and ongoing commitment to water conservation is on full display at The Resort at Pelican Hill®, the world-renowned destination overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Newport Coast.


The company’s commitment to water conservation and the use of recycled water at the resort comprises a major multifaceted undertaking. In fact, the resort’s entire landscaping and golf courses are irrigated with recycled water.

A hallmark of the resort’s water-conservation system is five underground cisterns capable of holding 1.2 million gallons of rainwater and runoff. Water captured in the cisterns is recycled and used to irrigate the golf courses and landscape.

In addition, the 100-acre landscape features drought-tolerant plants, limited turf areas, trees grouped into “micro-zones” based on their water needs, underground rainwater cisterns capable of holding five million gallons of captured water, and WaterSense controllers that program water schedules based on data gleaned from the Internet.

The Resort at Pelican Hill was designed and constructed from the ground up with environmental conservation in mind.  The following are a few highlights and benefits of this effort.

The Resort’s ornamental plants were selected for their minimal water requirements. Mediterranean plants and succulents in particular are used for outdoor landscape and indoor design.

In our landscaping, we use state-of-the-art, high-efficiency irrigation systems that reduce water consumption through the use of:

  • Smart irrigation controllers: This high-tech system controls how much water is used to irrigate our landscapes based on plant/soil type and weather conditions. The system uses real-time weather satellite data that, for instance, shuts off the irrigation system during rainy or cold conditions.
  • Drip and low-flow irrigation: This practice allows water to be slowly dripped into the soil, drastically reducing water usage and the overspray onto non-landscaped areas caused by traditional sprinklers.
  • Master valves with flow sensors: This allows us to automatically shut off the water when the flow sensor detects a leak.

Long before the current drought, Pelican Hill Golf Club developed one of the most sophisticated water conservation programs of any golf course in the country.

  • In 2007, Pelican Hill installed the five aforementioned underground cisterns that can hold 1.2 million gallons of rainwater and runoff.
  • The resort also features two irrigation lakes capable of holding an additional 5.4 million gallons of rainwater and runoff, which can be pumped in from the cisterns and then used to irrigate the golf courses and landscape.
  • Weather satellites, computers, smartphone apps and 11,000 sprinkler heads— 6,000 of which are individually controlled—pinpoint irrigation only to needed areas.
  • Three inches of sand are buried under the fairway turf, allowing for a better growing environment that translates into less water use.
  • Over the last few years, an additional 18 acres of the golf courses have been converted to warm season Bermuda grass similar to what is used on the fairways and tees, which is drought and cold tolerant and requires less watering. This initiative to convert the turf is ongoing.
  • With the cisterns and sophisticated irrigation system, virtually no storm water leaves the coastal golf course, earning praise from environmentalists concerned about runoff into the Pacific Ocean.
  • A computerized device measures the moisture level of the greens each day, ensuring that only the exact amount of water needed will be used.
  • Each year, Pelican Hill uses 40% less water than its recycled water allocation from the Irvine Ranch Water District.
  • Pelican Hill has been honored by Golf Magazine’s Eco-friendly Green Hall of Fame Awards and Golf Digest’s Green Star Environmental Awards.

The resort has low-flow plumbing fixtures and auto-shutoff faucets in the restrooms.  The resort also offers guests the option to help save thousands of gallons of water annually by reusing bed linens and bath towels during their stay.