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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