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In midst of drought, colleges water artificial turf

The South's current drought is breaking records and requiring water-use restrictions. This isn't stopping Duke and UNC from keeping their artificial turf watered, though, reports Ann Blythe for The News & Observer:

It's not even real grass.

But in the midst of what may be the worst drought ever in North Carolina, Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are watering the synthetic turfs used by their field hockey teams.

The International Hockey Federation insists.

The universities are not breaking any rules. But like clockwork, as residents in Durham and Chapel Hill see their plants and lawns wither, the sprinklers go on at the UNC-CH Francis E. Henry Stadium and at Duke's Williams Field.

Brad Schnurr, a Chapel Hill contractor who does work in Durham, saw the sprinklers go on one afternoon recently at Duke and drove around the block to make sure he was not seeing things.

"Sprinklers aren't even the right term, they're like fire hoses," Schnurr said. "I was like, 'What is that? What is that?' I couldn't believe it."

The International Hockey Federation requires the college teams to saturate the synthetic turfs before each practice and all games.

Read the rest at the link above. Now, watering artificial turf helps prevent injuries, so it's not as preposterous as it seems (except for the drought, of course). Still, if injury prevention is important, why aren't they playing on grass?

The Universities also claim to be conserving water in other ways, which is fine, BUT: they could do what they are doing and conserve still more by stopping this nonsense during a severe water crisis. The International Hockey Federation . . . what are they going to do about it? Taxpaying citizens in North Carolina can't be happy watching their lawns and gardens turn brown as they observe the usage restrictions even as their tax dollars are funding public universities who water . . . Astroturf.


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Comments (13)

"Still, if injury preventio... (Below threshold)

"Still, if injury prevention is important, why aren't they playing on grass?"

Wouldn't you need to water the grass? Besides, just like global warming this drought is cyclical. Just keep on using all the water you want because in a few years it will cycle back to above normal rain fall and all the reservoirs will be replenished.

Like a snake Barney lays in... (Below threshold)

Like a snake Barney lays in wait to strike. Time for someone to stomp on him like the little snake he is.

"Like a snake Barney lays i... (Below threshold)

"Like a snake Barney lays in wait to strike."

You mean like a snake in the "grass"?

More like snake in the Gard... (Below threshold)
Master Shake:

More like snake in the Garden of Eden - or maybe he's just your mentor.

The universities are okay i... (Below threshold)

The universities are okay in using the water on the astroturf. They purchased water offset credits.

Baghdad barney:<em... (Below threshold)

Baghdad barney:

"in a few years it will cycle back to above normal rain fall and all the reservoirs will be replenished."

The first thing you've said right in how many years?

This thing is a train wreck... (Below threshold)

This thing is a train wreck in ultra slow motion and I'm going to be pretty low on sympathy when they do crap like that.

OTOH, how can you blame them with a government bureaucracy that has dumped water all year long in favor of aiding endangered species over protecting the public.

I know nothing about the im... (Below threshold)

I know nothing about the impact of water on the injury-prevention efficacy of artificial turf, but I wouldn't be shocked to learn that the cost of one year of "watering" a playing field is less than the cost of one week's care for a paraplegic athlete.

BTW, I'd like to know if the NCAA requires watering of football fields or soccer fields -- and if not, why not? What is it about field hockey that makes playing on artificial turf so much more dangerous?

Oh. No. They're ((gulp))...

This is all the fault of Title IX!!!!

Actually, I was in the UNC ... (Below threshold)

Actually, I was in the UNC marching band, and we would practice on Navy field, which is in the stadium mentioned in the article. I remember them watering the field often so that the field hockey team could play on it. I'm not exactly sure of the safety issues, but I know the ball/puck they use moves much faster on wet turf. Besides that, I would guess that falling on wet turf would feel a lot better than dry.

Regardless, I doubt it's having that much of an effect on the area water supply.

All i find in artificial tu... (Below threshold)
Spurwing Plover:

All i find in artificial turf is artificial worms and the things taste awful ugh SQUAWK SQUAWK

"Just keep on using all the... (Below threshold)
Brad S:

"Just keep on using all the water you want because in a few years it will cycle back to above normal rain fall and all the reservoirs will be replenished."

Out of the last 12 years in Arizona, only two (1998 and 2005) have NOT had drought attached to them. Seems to me that the Southeast could take some lessons in water management from Vegas and Phoenix. Full green lawns are prohibited in Vegas.

Learn from vegas and phoeni... (Below threshold)
sjur soleng:

Learn from vegas and phoenix...Those are deserts!!! In fact, did you know that L.A. is the largest desert city outside of Cairo?!?! L.A. only has enough water to sustain 20,000 people...How many live there? Its silly that so many rivers have to be diverted so people can live there.

"Just keep on using all the... (Below threshold)

"Just keep on using all the water you want because in a few years it will cycle back to above normal rain fall and all the reservoirs will be replenished."

I don't think anyone is arguing against water conservation (in fact, that was kind of the point of the post that these colleges were wasting water). But your point about cyclical droughts is well-proven.

For instance, look at central Texas over the past year. Back last December we were in the middle of the worst drought in 42 years. Lake Travis (reservoir for Austin) was roughly 25 ft below normal levels. Yet by May... only six months later... the drought was over and the Highland lakes were completely refilled During the early part of the summer, the lake was actually at above-average levels.

Just saying. :)






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