Swimming Pool Blog

Swimming Pools and Water

Swimming Pools in Drought Stricken Areas
by Rob Cox July 8, 2014

Swimming Pools in Drought Stricken Areas

Several parts of Texas announced Stage 2 water restrictions in effect today. In San Antonio, for example, the Edwards Aquifer dropped below 650 feet, ushering a new set of water use restrictions, known as Stage 2. 

Here's what the San Antonio Stage 2 rules have to say about swimming pools:

'All non-public swimming pools must have a minimum of 25 percent of the surface area covered with evaporation screens when not in use. Inflatable pool toys or floating decorations may be used for this purpose.'

I get the point, but I have two problems with the requirement - 1. Pool toys left in the pool attract children, and could be unsafe, and 2. How many people can cover 25% of their pool surface with inflatable pool toys? And, I'm not sure what a 'floating decoration' is supposed to be. Solar blankets, Solar Rings or Liquid solar blanket would be a better, safer evaporation screen.


Earlier this month in Texas, officials in a suburb of Austin, banned the construction of new swimming pools, at least until they come up with some better solutions for water management in their growing community. It's a sad day when swimming pools become illegal to build.

In California, which has water problems far beyond the lack of rain, mandatory restrictions are in place in many parts of the state. Other cities, such as Santa Barbara and Livermore, are requiring that all pools be covered when not in use. I would take this to mean either an automatic cover, winter cover or solar pool cover.

The Arizona Dept. of Water Resources goes so far as to say 'private pools are not recommended'. They also suggest on their Pool & Spa 'Fact Sheet' to 'Run pumps no more than 3 hours per day'. What?

In the northern Arizona town of Williams, residents are now at Stage 4 water restrictions and have not been able to fill or refill pools since they were on Stage 2.

In the northern suburbs of Dallas and Houston residents are unable to drain and refill their pool. Pool owners in The Woodlands and Plano have had to skip repairs to the pool that would require draining the water, although you can apply for a variance, and pay a hefty fee, too.

Topping-Off: Many communities are prohibiting filling new or existing pools. 'Topping-Off' your pool is OK in most areas, while it is specifically banned in other areas. I believe that in the areas where it is banned, 'Topping-Off' refers to overfilling a pool, whereas in areas permissable, it refers to adding replacement water to the pool.

What's a pool owner to do when the taps get shut off for the pool? Pay big bucks to water bootleggers hauling it in across state lines. 


Many industry associations have been working hard with pool professionals to counter spurious legislation that places undue or unreasonable restrictions on pool owners, and can limit or restrict new pool construction. The CPSA and APSP, among others have been working to educate the public that pools aren't the water hogs they are made out to be.


  • Most swimming pools use less than 5000 gallons of water per year
  • Using a solar cover, automatic cover or winter cover stops evaporation
  • Underfilled or inoperational swimming pools pose a community safety hazard


Adaptable pool service firms like Hatcher Pools, in Witchita Falls, are investing in water retention systems; large bladders to hold the water while pool repairs are done. Afterwards, the water is pumped back into the pool. full story

In other parts of the country, mobile water recycling companies have sprung up to reclaim stagnant pool water, or water that has high levels of hardness or TDS. Using truck mounted reverse osmosis filters, services like PST are able to pump all of the bad water out of the pool, and return it minutes later, sparkling clean.

Leak detection services for swimming pools have also become big business. A pool leak can waste hundreds of heated and treated water into the surrounding soil. When restrictions are in place against 'topping off' your pool, fixing a leak in the pool shell or plumbing can become an urgent need.


List of Texas Communities Under Water Restriction

List of California Communities Under Water Restriction


- Rob