Question: How much water does it take per watering to sufficiently water an elite-level synthetic turf hockey pitch?
This question allowed for multiple answers.
For many years, a synthetic turf hockey pitch used in international top-leagues would be watered both prior to the game and during half time, each time using approximately 18,000l of water.
Fearing polluting the surface with algae or other organic material, clubs in most countries will only use potable water.
Thanks to improvements made by the international synthetic turf industry, this amount was reduced to 12,000l per watering for the fields introduced at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Over the years, this amount has been further reduced, particularly following the call by FIH in 2018 to start developing a FIH-Global level synthetic turf surface that would not require any water at all.
The fields used for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics only required 6,000l water per watering. Although this is a significant reduction achieved in only 8 years’ time, FIH remained adamant that future fields should require no water at all.
They have also accepted that it might require a more holistic approach to achieve synthetic turf ‘quality’ and ‘performance’ without using any water, by accepting new developments regarding hockey sticks or hockey balls.
Nevertheless, the first dry hockey turf field was opened in the Netherlands in June 2023. It has been granted ‘innovation status’ for the time being, pending testing and monitoring by FIH and the Dutch hockey association, KNHB.
The concept is radically different from synthetic turf carpets produced thus far, as is explained in the video clip below.