Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to commonly asked questions about water use, water conservation, and the impact of the pool, hot tub and spa industry on state economies.

Q: Does a pool or spa really save more water than a lawn?

A: Yes! A well-maintained pool, hot tub or home spa uses less water per day than an irrigated lawn. Since most pool designs include a footprint larger than just the pool itself, wooden or concrete decking replaces even more traditional, water-intensive landscaping.

In the first year of pool construction, a new pool requires less water than a traditional lawn. On average, water use, including filling a new 1,200 square-foot pool after it’s installed, is 32,000 gallons. A 1,200 square-foot lawn uses approximately 44,000 gallons per year.

Q: What can I do as a pool or spa owner to save water during the drought?

A: There are plenty of ways to conserve water when enjoying your pool, hot tub or home spa:

  • Use a pool cover, which can decrease evaporation by up to 97% and make your pool and decking as efficient as drought-resistant landscaping.
  • Make it a “splashless” pool season, as splashing accounts for considerable water loss.
  • Lower your pool’s water level to limit water displacement.
  • Shut off waterfalls, fountains and other water features to reduce water loss and evaporation.
  • Check the pool for cracks and leaks.
  • Plug the overflow line when the pool is in use.
  • Replace sand and DE filters with cartridge filters that do not require backwashing.
  • Keep your pool clean to reduce frequency of backwashing.
  • If your pool is heated, reduce the water temperature to reduce and limit evaporation.

Q: In the event of a fire emergency, can I offer my pool as a water reservoir to my local fire department?

A: Yes! This is another added benefit of owning a pool. In case of a fire in your neighborhood, your pool can act as a reservoir to assist your local fire department. You can enter into an agreement with your local fire department so that they may pump water from your pool.

Q: How do unfilled swimming pools pose a risk to health and safety?

A: Unfilled or empty swimming pools pose a substantial threat to both property and public health. Without the weight of the water pressure keeping pools in place, they are at risk of significant damage, including “pop-out” or collapse. Empty pools can compromise structural integrity, damage walls, floors or liners, and even impact surrounding decking. They’re also susceptible to cracks and flaking, leading to issues with leaking that can require significant investment to repair.

In addition to property damage, unfilled pools can also pose major health threats. Empty pools can result in standing water as a result of normal precipitation, which is a breeding ground for mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus and other diseases. Any water that stands for a minimum of seven days around a home is designated as “standing water.” Many locations around a property can hold water that can become stagnant and breed mosquitoes, including trash cans, birdbaths, aquariums, hot tubs, wading pools and swimming pools. Due to the size of a pool, however, it’s difficult for a homeowner to prevent stagnant water from collecting in the bottom of an empty pool.

According to the CDC, well-maintained pools and hot tubs will not provide ideal environments for mosquitoes for two significant reasons: sanitization and filtration. Proper use of EPA-registered sanitizers can prevent microorganisms from increasing in pools or hot tubs.

In order to prevent the issues posed by empty pools, don’t drain your pool unless significant repairs require it, and always utilize a pool cover to prevent or lessen evaporation and mosquito breeding.

Q: Why are restrictions against the pool, hot tub and spa industry concerning?

A: When water districts propose regulations affecting just pool and hot tub owners, they are promoting a policy that will adversely impact just one industry. From builders to suppliers to maintenance workers, the pool, hot tub and spa industry is composed of local, small, often minority-owned businesses. Imposing such industry-specific regulations will put hundreds of local workers out of business and mean less money for local governments that rely on building permits as revenue generators. Every industry should be working together to save water during the drought.

Q: Do I still need to be conscious of my water use even if I’m not currently under a drought designation?

A: Yes! Climate change continues to impact weather patterns, and drought will likely be an ongoing issue. Experts predict that parts of the U.S. will experience a constant swing between intense dry and wet seasons, so it’s critical that we are smart water users all year long. Ensuring your pool is water-wise and being smart about your water use even in rainy seasons will help you enjoy your relaxing retreat when the dry weather returns.