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Future of MSU's Athletic Fields Uncertain Because of the Drought

Just over a month after stage four water restrictions began for those on Wichita Falls' water supply, Midwestern State University officials say they're doing what they can to preserve fields on the campus.
Just over a month after stage four water restrictions began for those on Wichita Falls' water supply, Midwestern State University officials say they're doing what they can to preserve fields on the campus.

Kyle Owen, Associate Vice President of MSU Facilities Services says since entering stage four, they've eliminated all of their drip irrigation like the rest of the city, and they say their athletic fields are paying the price.

"It's certainly our hope that conditions will improve," Owen says. "I keep thinking that maybe we're at the bottom of the cycle and it will start turning up so I keep saying my prayers."

Owen says the school is no longer using city water to take care of its fields. Thanks to a well that was installed this summer, groundskeepers have been able to water them. But because of its mineral content, only in moderation.

"Occasionally we use it on the soccer fields just to supplement the city when we had city water and try and keep it alive and we will continue to do that to some extent however we don't want to do it too much because it will end up killing off the soccer and softball field," Owen exclaims. 

He says if drought conditions don't improve, the school's fields may be lost. 

"The soccer field and the softball field will end up taking a hit because we won't be able to water those except with the well water," Owen says. "We'll add gypsum to these two fields in hopes of prolonging or reducing the effects of the salt on both of them."

A temporary solution to a problem many fear will only grow worse.

Also, Owen says they've started adding agents to the fields that will help keep moisture in the soil.

As we get deeper into this drought, he says more of those will need to be used. 

He is also concerned the fields will become dangerous for students to play on if they don't get enough water because the ground will get hard and it will be like playing on asphalt.
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