Hosepipe bans may be something we're accustomed to in summer, but news that seven water companies in the South and East of the country are planning to enforce bans from 5th April - in the critical run-up to the cricket season - is giving clubs a real headache.
While the ECB has urged clubs to make contact with their local water board and put forward their case for the continued use of hose pipes during the ban, there are measures that can be taken to help reduce the impact should the drought continue through the year and enforcements be strengthened and spread across the country. James Coney, Project Development Manager at total-play Ltd, which specialises in the design, construction and maintenance of both natural and non-turf playing surfaces, says:
"The prospect of a hosepipe ban so early in the year is pretty much unheard of and presents something of a nightmare for those responsible for the care of cricket grounds - especially if the drought continues and restrictions are tightened later in the year.
"Perhaps the most future-proof way that clubs can avoid being affected by drought is to consider the installation of a non-turf match pitch. There are non-turf surfaces on the market, including our own ECB approved tp365 system, that are suitable and carry full approval for match play. They are designed to mimic the performance of a premium grass pitch and, with a non-turf table in place clubs can play in all weathers; safe in the knowledge that their valuable wicket won’t be compromised through a lack of water. If clubs act now they could have a new non-turf match surface installed and ready for the summer season.
"However, if the budget won’t run to a new non-turf match pitch it is possible to make the most of the little water available to keep natural pitches in playable condition. Careful maintenance schedules based on the specific type of loam you have, grey water harvesting and the installation of strategically placed irrigation points can all help. The trouble is where to start – total-play can help here, offering a full service whereby we will assess the current situation and type of loam before advising on the nest course of action. We can also carry out the necessary works and even undertake scheduled maintenance works on the club’s behalf, if required."
To discuss how total-play can help formulate a drought management strategy for your club, or for the installation of a non-turf match pitch please call James Coney on 01604 864575. For more information on total-play’s broad range of sports surface design, construction, maintenance and refurbishment services visit www.total-play.co.uk.