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Support for sports clubs facing hosepipe ban

April 11, 2012

New guidance has been issued to help sports clubs deal with the hosepipe ban, which came into force in many parts of the country on Thursday, 5 April. Around four out of 10 outdoor sports pitches in England will be affected by the restrictions.

With water crucial to maintaining the quality and safe performance of many outdoor surfaces, governing bodies of sports have come together with Sport England to develop the advice.

The advice includes:

  • How to maintain pitches and courts effectively during drought conditions
  • Making the best use of rainfall when it does occur
  • Managing the use of pitches to reduce the risk of damage
  • How all clubs can use water more effectively
  • Working with the water companies to negotiate possible exemptions.

The document will not only support sports clubs directly affected by the hosepipe ban, but will also encourage clubs outside the ban area to use the limited water more effectively and to make their facilities more resilient, which will help ensure their longevity.

Clubs in areas not subject to the ban can help reduce the impact of drought on the environment by taking simple steps such as; increasing mowing height and mowing less frequently; watering in larger amounts on fewer occasions to get the water deeper into the soil; never watering in the heat of the day.

Seven water companies are planning to introduce a ban on the use of hosepipes from Thursday, 5 April and other parts of the country could be affected later in the year, depending on the rainfall this spring.

Current legislation only provides very limited exemptions for sports facilities, such as for staging national and international fixtures. In exceptional cases sports clubs can secure an agreement to water their pitches from their water company.

Charles Johnston, Sport England's Property Director, said: "We have been supporting the excellent lead taken by a number of governing bodies by working with them and Cranfield University on the impact of climate change on pitch sports. The recent announcement of hosepipe bans has reinforced the importance of this area of work. I am therefore pleased that we can jointly release this new guidance to help clubs to play their part during this period of water shortage and control."

"We will continue to work closely with the industry to ensure that the very best techniques and latest technologies are adopted to help manage these limited resources as effectively as possible now and in the future."

Bruce Cruse, National Funding and Facilities Manager at the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), said: "ECB welcomes this initiative from Sport England. In our sport, watering pitches is vital to maintain safe pitches and keep our sport functioning throughout the summer. We recognise the importance of conserving water and have ourselves commissioned expert advice on this subject and are now communicating to our clubs ideas for saving water."

Clubs are encouraged to begin discussions with their water company now to make their case and to ensure that they fully understand the practical implications of the proposed water restrictions.

The new guidance provides advice and information that will help clubs in their discussions with the water companies.

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