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Managing sport in drought-new stakeholders and new governance issues : a case study

conference contribution
posted on 2009-01-01, 00:00 authored by P Kellett, Paul TurnerPaul Turner
Globally, almost every nation is facing some form of water crisis (World Commission on Water 2000). In Australia, the sport and recreation industry is one of the highest consumers of water. Other high water consuming industries (such as agriculture and farming) have been forced to adhere to strict managerial and governance reform due to the water crisis, yet in the sport and recreation industry, such changes are yet to be implemented and fully realised across the sector.

This research examines the impacts of drought and sustainable water management for sport and recreation. Specifically, it provides a case study of sport and recreation provision in a municipality that has already undergone considerable reform due to long-term drought. Sport and recreation use water for purposes such as irrigation of playing fields/pitches, filling swimming pools, stadium amenities and facilities, kitchens, maintenance and cleaning, and clubhouse amenities.

For sports that are heavy users of water for the maintenance of playing fields (such as soccer, Australian Rules football, rugby league, rugby union, grass and clay tennis courts to name a few) the impacts of drought and water restrictions have been severe. Some sports have reported an increase in the risk of injury to participants because of the condition of un-watered playing fields (Sport and Recreation Victoria 2007). Others have been forced to delay or shorten their seasons (Sleeman 2007), or worse still, cancel training and organised competition completely (Connolly and Bell 2007). While the impact of water restrictions has been profound on most sports, there are some sports that are not heavy water users and the impact of drought and water restrictions has been minimal. This problem creates issues and apparent inequities raising the need to further examine water consumption in sport and recreation. The potential outcome that arises is that the future of those sports that cannot conduct their competitions may be disadvantaged, while other sports that do not have such problems may be able to flourish.

Water, and those who control the supply of it, then defines which sports are able to flourish and sustain sport development pathways, compared to those whose survival may be in jeopardy. This research explores the stakeholder management and governance issues that have resulted for sport and recreation in the City of Greater Geelong (CoGG) located in Victoria, Australia--a region in long-term water crisis. The supply of sport and recreation facilities in the CoGG (like most municipalities in Australia) is largely the responsibility of the municipal council. The corporation responsible for the supply of water to the municipality is Barwon Water.

Although other sport and recreation facilities exist in the CoGG, the municipal council of CoGG owns and maintains over 120 sporting ovals (including the stadium used by its professional Australian Football League (AFL) team, the Cats), six swimming pools, and three golf courses. The CoGG host their professional AFL team, a range of local, national and international sport events, and provide a wide range of sport and recreation facilities for the community residents.

Eight interviews were conducted in total. Interviews were conducted with representatives from CoGG municipal council (who are responsible for the delivery of sport and recreation services and facilities in Geelong), and representatives from Barwon Water (who are responsible for the ongoing provision and maintenance of sport and recreation services and facilities) through the provision of water. Results show that the ten highest users of water in the municipality are sport and recreation facilitieswhich between them use almost one-third of the city's total water consumption (City of Greater Geelong 2006).

The municipal council is under considerable pressure to find ways to continue to provide sport and recreati



North American Society for Sport Management Conference (2009 : Columbia, South Carolina)


166 - 166




Columbia, South Carolina

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[Columbia, S.C.]

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L3 Extract of paper (minor conferences)

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2009, The Authors

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NASSAM 2009 : North American Society for Sport Management Conference

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