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Most of California is in a state of drought again. And this time it seems to be progressing faster than usual.

“We have reservoir levels today where it took three years to get to last time around,” said John Norwood, director of government relations with the California Pool and Spa Association. “And we’re arguably in the first year, maybe part of the second year.”

There is good news: So far, only a handful of cities have sought to impose water restrictions on new pools. And they generally wait until the drought has progressed further before trying to prevent the construction or filling of new installations. Additionally, spas are being virtually left untouched. This comes in part because of industry accomplishments during the last drought, when CPSA convinced many cities to keep new-pool restrictions out of their drought plans.

More cities are imposing drain-and-refill restrictions, which CPSA supports, since alternatives exist such as reverse osmosis.

However, Norwood is more concerned about what happens next year if the drought has not broken. “If we don’t get rain, it is going to be horrible,” he said. “So we really need to create the base this year, and we have to get our members involved.”

For the reason, the organization plans to begin reaching out to all water agencies and cities throughout the state to educate them on the true impacts of pools and spas on water conservation.

In discussing the issue with government officials, CPSA is comparing water usage for new pools against that of car washes that recycle their water. In some cities, estimates have shown that the water used to fill a year’s worth of new pools is equal to 1% or less of the water typically used by the city in a single day. Water used for car washes, on the other hand, tends to equal about 1% of a city’s annual usage.

CPSA also presents figures showing that pools save water compared with lawns and other uses, and that the pool/spa industry creates more employees per acre foot of water use than any other industry.

The organization encourages industry professionals to begin speaking with city council members and other officials to try staving off new-pool restrictions. The organization offers a kit that presents facts, statistics and talking points to help.

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