5 min read

The Drought of 2022 And What That Could Mean For Your Pool

Imagine it, you’ve worked tirelessly with your contractor for months and finally have your dream pool built. You’re excited to have it filled so you can take that first satisfying dive…but then you get a notice on your phone that there’s been a state-wide water restriction. The guilt and the frustration start setting in. 

With the intense drought conditions in California, the one major response has been to cut back on water usage. In 2021, Governor Newsom issued a state-wide emergency for 50 of California’s 58 counties, which called for households to lower their water usage by 15%. 

Now, in 2022, the situation has not seemed to have gotten any better, with the effects of water restrictions being a major blow to the California pool and spa industry. 

So, what could this mean for you as a new or existing pool owner? As it stands with the current drought situation, more and more homeowners are afraid to enjoy their pools and wind up leaving the pool cover on for the unforeseeable future. They buy into the various myths such as: 

  • Pools Use Way Too Much Water
  • Having A Lawn Will Be Much More Water Conservative Than Having A Pool
  • A Pool Can Never Be Made To Be Water Conservative

At J Designs Pool and Spa, we have had 20 years of giving California residents the tools and information they need to have fun in their pool despite climate conditions. We believe that the drought and these restrictions don’t have to be the end to your enjoyment of your pool, now or at any other time of the year. 

By reading this article, each of those myths that prevent you from enjoying your backyard oasis will be debunked and dispelled. That way, you have the facts to help you choose the best course of action for you and your home. 

Also, we will be giving you the best tips to better conserve your pool water so you can embrace the pleasure of your pool, guilt-free. 


What Exactly Is “The Megadrought” And What Are The Restrictions? 

What is now affectionately known as the “megadrought” is by far the driest on historical record, producing 20 years of worsening conditions. Even in 2022, the predictions for improvement are not getting any brighter. 

These conditions may have permanently changed how we look at water and water consumption: from watering our lawns to possibly giving up those long relaxing showers. 

With this serious environmental threat increasing, Californian officials are attempting a variety of ways to conserve our water, which includes a method called “water sharing” to, you guessed it, a state-wide crackdown on water usage from property owners. 

One of the demands for that is restricting outdoor watering to only 1-2 days per week. People associate that with both their front yards and their backyards, which includes the biggest water feature: the pool. 


Common myths about droughts and pools

While it is very important to take the threat of drought very seriously and collect as much information as possible on this topic, there is also a lot of misinformation and mythology about pools and their impact on overall water usage. Because of this information, the pool industry has suffered, with more clients afraid to fill and maintain their pools. We’re here to tell you that you don’t have to be. But what are these specific myths and what are the facts behind them?


Myth #1: Pools Use Way Too Much Water

Let’s be honest, it’s easy to argue that pools use too much water. They are the largest and most prominent water features on your property. Whether it’s Olympic size, classic, infinity, inground, or above ground it’s going to have a large amount of water filling it. From a casual perspective, this looks like a huge waste, but in fact, it isn’t! 

The first time that you fill up a pool, it can require, on average, up to 15,000 gallons of water depending on size. If carefully maintained and chemically treated, you won’t need to refill your pool, making its water usage extremely low. Not even equating to 1% of the annual city water usage. 

On average, a well-maintained pool and spa can save 12,000 gallons in the first year, and 30,000 gallons every year following.

Myth #2: Having A Lawn Will Be Much More Water Conservative Than Having A Pool

When you step out of your front or back door, there is probably nothing better than seeing a vibrant green lawn, manicured bushes, and growing flowers. You might see the sprinklers come out of the grass and gently shower your landscape for about 30 - 35 minutes. It’s quick, effective, and leaves you with beautiful results. Once the sprinklers are done, they go back into the ground and no more water is discharged. Pretty simple, right? 

So, why are lawn owners the main targets of water restriction laws, while those affecting pools remain unchanged? It seems more apparent that pools are larger agents of water than tiny sprinklers in a yard. However, studies show that the average lawn, which typically has about 15 sprinkler heads in its system, uses about 12 or 15 gallons a minute for each unit. So in that peaceful 30 minutes, you are using up to 7,000 gallons of water a day. 

While watering a lawn may seem more conservative than having a large blue pool in the backyard, it’s a lot more water-friendly to keep a pool than a lawn!


Myth #3: A Pool Can Never Be Made To Be Water Conservative

Summer is finally here and despite the news stories, you decide to swim in that pool anyway and take the pool cover off. But your guilt returns and you feel that there is nothing that you can do as a pool owner to better conserve your water. So, you shrug your shoulders and ignore it. You just want to enjoy your pool. 


What Are The Solutions To Conserve Your Pool Water?

However, we at JDesigns Pool and Spa want you to be a part of the drought solution and there are simple things that you, as a pool owner, can do to conserve water while still enjoying your backyard retreat. 

1. Solar Pool Covers 

This may be the cheapest and most popular tool that pool owners are using. Having these covers can keep the water from evaporating over time, slow down condensation, and maintain its level. When the pool is not being used during the colder seasons, the cover can keep the water level the same for months after use. 


2. Checking For Leaks

This solution doesn’t even require a professional and is something homeowners can do themselves. By performing what is known as the “bucket test”, all you need to do is fill a five-gallon bucket 1 inch from the top with pool water. You dip the bucket in the pool to around 5 inches, marking the inside and outside water level. Check again in 24 hours and if the water level outside the bucket is lower than the water level inside, then you most likely have a leak and need to call a professional. Using this simple test on your pool will save you gallons of water in the long run. 


3. Limit Splashing

This may seem like the simplest solution, and if you have a pool full of children, it may seem like an impossible one. However, gallons of water can be splashed out of a pool every day, just from a simple game of Marco Polo. By just becoming more aware of how much of this is done in and around your pool, you might be able to tackle the problem before it gets out of hand. Also, building splash drainage into your pool beforehand can catch any lost water and recirculate it back into the pool. 


Next Steps For You And Your Pool

Now that we’ve given you the low down on a few of the common myths about pool water conservation and their solutions, let’s dive into some more tools that you can use to stay on top of water restrictions. 

It’s pretty unanimous that the drought is something that should be taken seriously. Now that we are in 2022, it’s even more important that we do our part to conserve water at this time. 

If you would like to look into further resources, we recommend that you look into the CPSA (California Pool and Spa Association) to better understand the elements of the drought and what you can do as a pool owner to help. 

There is also the Let’s Pool Together initiative created by the Pool and Spa Industry, which will give you the tools and facts to get the most out of your pool, while still helping defend our water source from being depleted.  

At J Designs Pool and Spa, we want to keep you aware of the facts and we have further reading to give you the best solutions to conserve your pool water. Check them out below!

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