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Pools vs. Drought? Who Wins? Who Loses?

Sheri Sperry July 22, 2015


Laguna Beach Starts Moratorium on Building Pools 

  Pools vs Drought Laguna Beach City officials just recently decided to put a moratorium in place for pool contruction.  This makes it the first city in Southern California to do so.  The city of Milpitas in Northen California has already put a moritorium on pool construction. As most of you know, California is experiencing one of the worst droughts in it's history, and an emergency drought declaration was issued by the state's governor.  Though, there are state wide restrictions limiting the amount of water that can be used, each region and city or community may experience a different level of concern based on where the water comes from.  Some cities have to import water.  Other cities get water from wells or they have a contract with a nearby city or company that supplies the water. Cities such as Laguna Beach that have to import water are most concerned over usage.  Pool construction moratoriums have taken center stage.  Many other cities in California are in different stages considering a moratorium. So what is the benefit of a Pool Construction Moratorium?   More available water ... right? Not so fast. As a read through an article provided by ReMax Evolution, it does not state anywhere that a conversation about actual evaporation rates of a pool vs. grass vs. drought resistant plants and drip systems. I think this should at least be part of the conversation. Who are the biggest losers in this battle?   Pool construction companies will be hit the hardest.  This will have a ripple effect throughout the California construction industry as well as real estate sales and possibly new construction. The consumer who wants to build a pool is also affected. According to Milpitas City manager tom Williams, they will allow projects already in construction to go through. He also said that some residents who want a pool badly have said they are willing to import the water from another state to fill the pool. Anther question that should be discussed. What role do pool covers play in reducing evaporation rates?  One article says that pool covers reduce evaporation by 90-95% and can save a pool owner 3 to 5000 gallons of water per summer.  How does this compare to water resistant plants? Maybe pool covers should be part of the permitting process. No pool cover no pool! An average 100 x 100 sf lawn uses 6230 gallons every time the water is turned on . Efficent Irrigation If a pool owner or builder can make arrangements with another state not affected by a drought, to import water at their cost and evaporation rates are minimal, is it prudent to a city to take each pool construction plan on a case by case basis? More Information Means Better Decisions Knowing this key research about evaporation rates, pool covers,  and importing of water may help to provide a better assessment of what rules and regulations are put into place. I have been told that Sedona gets our water from an aquifer that starts up in Flagstaff area and flows south.  I heard there is an 85 year supply.  But as we continue to grow, new water consumers are being added.  The water is there but the delivery system (wells etc.) needs to be improved or new wells etc. need to be built to provide more water.  So even with a lot of available water, we need to conserve as well.  Other areas in the Verde Valley also have conservation programs in place. The Worldwatch Institute also has conflicting points of view on drip irrigation systems.  What some may consider wasted water through spray irrigation, others claim that water is returned to the aquifer if not used.  Some studies show that spray irrigation has an evaporation rate or runoff of anywhere from 50% to 80% depending on the land conditions, climate etc.  Drip systems are about 80 to 90% effective for bringing water to plants and trees but as mentioned may not return much water back to the aquifer. Sedona Pool Homes    

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