By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT
The 12,000-gallon water tank sitting near Victoria High School's football field casts a large shadow over the distressed grass.
The drought looms over the region as communities enact measures to conserve water, and Victoria's storied football program is feeling the ramifications. The high school is not watering its field because of the city's restrictions on outdoor water use.
Facing the prospect of their children playing on dead grass, the athletes' parents rallied to preserve the field.
Terry Riedel, father of junior Parker Riedel, said several 800-gallon and 1,000-gallon rain barrels were placed throughout town to collect water. The water will be transferred to the 12,000-gallon tank for storage before irrigation.
"The grass is pretty much dying, so a few parents got together and are trying to at least keep the field alive," Riedel said.
One barrel at the Coca-Cola Refreshments distribution center collected 650 gallons after a recent rainfall. Two more were installed, and others were stationed at local businesses and other sites.
Saving the field is a matter of safety.
"Most of us are parents of football players," he said. "We hate to see our kids out to play on something that looks like pavement out there. It's hard."
Shaun Musil, warehouse supervisor for Coca-Cola, said the company approved the rain barrels on its property because it strives to contribute to the community. The tanks are hooked up to the building's rain gutters.
"I think it's just a phenomenal idea, and I hope it's successful for them and the school," Musil said.
Stuart Moeckel, principal and athletic director for Victoria Junior-Senior High School, said the school did not ask for the help, but it appreciates the community's efforts.
"I think Victoria has always been a community that values its education and its schools, and it's just one more thing that shows that," Moeckel said.