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 California’s economy.

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 fact, according to a study done by the Santa Margarita Water District, a 1,200 sq. ft. pool installation uses about the same amount of water as California-friendly, drought-resistant landscaping in the year after the pool has been constructed.

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: Why is the pool and spa industry important for California’s economy?

A: Pool construction alone employs hundreds of local residents, requires permit fees and employee payroll taxes be paid, which helps to stimulate local economies. Pool builders, distributors, and retailers live and work in our communities and are a vital part of the workforce.

The swimming pool and hot tub industry also creates approximately $75,000 in local economic impact for every new pool that is built. At about $1.4 million per acre-feet, the pool and spa industry has the highest economic impact per acre-feet of water used than any other industry in California except high tech.

Q: How many jobs does the pool, hot tub and spa industry provide?

A: In 2020, more than 94,200 Californians were employed by the pool and spa industry. The pool and spa industry generates 11,700 jobs per 1,000 acre-feet of water it uses. That is considerably higher than other industries, like agriculture, which only produces 12 jobs per 1,000 acre-feet.

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.