Measures in California meant to force a reduction in water use have left the industry fearing potential ramifications for pool/spa ownership.

The California State Water Resources Control Board plans to decrease the amount it will allow water districts to supply. If implemented, it would start next year with a reduction of 17% and continue decreasing over time. In 2030, it would reduce allotments by 37% of current usage, with a 45% decrease expected in 2035.

Meant to discourage lawns and other irrigated plantings,the move is untenable for existing pools, said Scott Cohen, chairman of the California Pool and Spa Association.

“My swimming pool will not use any less water than it uses today,” he said. “If you’re already covering it, I don’t know how you do any better.”

If water districts exceed their limit, they are subject to $10,000 per day in penalties, which Cohen expects will be passed on to homeowners. “You’re saying middle-class people can’t afford a pool anymore,” Cohen said.

Further, CPSA said pools should not be treated the same as softscapes, since pools have been shown to use less water than lawns and other plants.

“... It does not factor in the huge reduction in current water deliveries because of the installation of pools and associated hardscape and fixtures installed to enhance the pool project,” CPSA said in a press release. “Those areas of the project are taken out of irrigation forever, saving an estimated 120,000-acre feet of water annually. That number grows every year with the installation of new swimming pools.”

CPSA has filed comments explaining this, as well as the effects on the pool/spa industry and jobs. The Board is required to respond. CPSA expects hearings in the future.

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