Water, Sports and Environmental Sustainability

The purpose of this chapter is to examine the issue of utilizing water resources to maintain grass sports fields during times of extreme drought. The discussion focuses on a major municipality outside of Toronto in southwestern Ontario, Canada. This region has been experiencing hotter summers and drought conditions, and should this trend continue, themunicipality will have to decide whether its available water resources should be used on its sports fields. To assist in making a decision, the case of Melbourne, Australia, and its management of sports fields during its ‘‘Millennium Drought’’ is woven into the discussion. The Australian experience offers an understanding of some of the issues, responses, and findings that could aid other municipalities in determining whether or not to water their grass sports fields. The Melbourne case offers lessons for other municipalities that may experience drought conditions in the future. Importantly, the Australian conclusion (in hindsight) was that sports fields should be maintained during an extreme drought due to their social and cultural value to the community. For the municipality outside Toronto, the decision to water or not water, it was noted, is entangled within a complex array of influential factors, including economics, level of sustainability, sociocultural factors, and public opinion. The readers of this chapter are invited to reviewing the issues posed above and determine how the municipality of focus should prepare for an extreme drought that stresses the water resources for its grass sports fields.

CITE: Mallen, C. & Dingle, G. W. (2019). Sports and environmental sustainability: Water use during times of drought. In: J. Maguire (Ed.), The business and culture of sports: Society, politics, economy, environment. (1st ed., Ch. 27, pp. 383-394). Farmington Hills, USA: Macmillan

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