The California drought shows no signs of letting up. All indications suggest that conditions will only intensify in its third year, with 2022 so far showing as the driest since 1895.

And so comes the slew of cities and counties looking to pools and spas as they strive to significantly reduce water usage within their borders.

Over the years, the California Pool & Spa Association (CPSA) has maintained a solid dialogue with state agencies, steering them away from such measures as permit and filling bans. However, cities, towns and counties have their own drought-mitigation plans in place. As they prepare to implement their advanced-stage measures, many are considering bans on filling and permits in attempts to cut water use by as much as 50%.

While CPSA mitigated plenty of these attempts during the last drought, many city councils have experienced turnover, leaving the industry to educate officials all over again.

“Everybody [holds] a position for two years, so you have a whole new set of folks — mayors, council members,” said Scott Cohen, the new CPSA chairman of the board. “People running these cities are not all seasoned. Some are new to the position and didn’t hear [our arguments] in 2017. That was five years ago, and we’re dealing with lower [reservoir] levels than we were before.”

As is usually the case, hearings to explore pool restrictions often are conducted without attempts to notify or seek counsel from the industry.

That’s what happened in Ventura County, which seems to have banned new-pool permits starting June 1, although the industry is getting mixed messages and is in discussions with the County to take that option off the table, Cohen said.

The industry also has seen successes. CPSA’s lobbying firm, Norwood and Associates, has prevented such measures in several cities. And recently, Cohen and a handful of Los Angeles area builders addressed a suburban city council to prevent it from imposing anything more harsh than requiring floating covers to prevent evaporation.

For advice on how to combat such measures, see Cohen’s column on page 16.

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