Persistent Drought Affects Texas School Districts

AMARILLO (April 21, 2014) The drought that continues to grip much of the state has forced some school districts in the Texas Panhandle to dig wells or install artificial turf to keep athletic fields and campuses green.

Les Hoyt, chief financial officer of the Amarillo Independent School District, says school officials about 10 years ago began looking for ways to conserve water.

Back then, the district used about 500 million gallons annually.

Conservation trimmed usage to 356 million gallons last year.

Amarillo ISD installed watering systems that adjust for weather, and added some artificial turf.

The district’s costs rose from $2.90 per thousand gallons purchased from the city for irrigation during fiscal 2010 to more recently $4.65 per thousand gallons.

The Canyon Independent School District in 2011, the worst drought year, drilled wells at two schools.

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