As California grapples with an ongoing drought and bleak projections of the future usable water supply, the California Pool and Spa Association and the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance are positioning the pool industry to be part of the water conservation solution through an active partnership with the state’s Save Our Water program.
Through the associations’ “Lets Pool Together” campaign, the ongoing affiliation is part of a growing concern among pool and spa industry experts that as the state’s legislators propose strategies to conserve water, those efforts will expand to recreational water use by limiting new pool construction as well as filling existing pools, as has been enacted in the past.
In August, Governor Gavin Newsom released his strategy to address the state’s diminishing water supply as the state grapples with the ongoing impacts of climate change. He outlined his strategy in a 16-page report titled California’s Water Supply Strategy: Adapting to a Hotter, Drier Future. Overall, it reviews how he plans to put roughly $8 billion in state funding to use to improve resilience and supply of California’s water system.
The first few pages of the report
The United States is facing historic drought, specifically the western half of the country.
Pool owners are already conserving water, but there’s still more work to be done, and restricting water use for pools, hot tubs and spas is not the answer.
Learn more about how you can continue to enjoy your backyard retreat while being a responsible steward of this precious resource.
Let’s Pool Together is a joint effort designed to educate the public and policy makers on the facts about water use in relation to swimming pools, hot tubs and home spas. Visit https://www.letspooltogether.com/about-us/.
projects that the usable water supply could diminish by up to 10% over the next 18 years. This projection indicates overall storage amounts could recede by 6 million acre-feet to 9 million acre-feet of water. To combat the effects, Newsom is pushing a strategy that includes water recycling, desalination, stormwater capture, conservation, and expanded storage above and below ground.
Some of the key actions cited in the strategy include:
• Reuse at least 800,000 acre-feet of water per year by 2030 and 1.8 million acre-feet by 2040.
• Expand brackish groundwater desalination production by 28,000 acre-feet per year by 2030 and 84,000 acre-feet per year by 2040.
• Expand average annual groundwater recharge by at least 500,000 acre-feet.
• Complete the seven Proposition 1-supported storage projects and consider funding other viable surface storage projects.
• Expand San Luis Reservoir by 130,000 acre-feet, or an additional 6.5%, in storage capacity.
• Rehabilitate dams to regain roughly 350,000 acre-feet of lost storage capacity.
• Support local stormwater capture projects to increase annual supply capacity by at least 250,000 acre-feet by 2030 and 500,000 acre-feet by 2040.
• Reduce annual water demand in towns and cities by at least half a million acre-feet by 2030.
• Stabilize groundwater supplies for all groundwater users through continued implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).
• Modernize water rights administration.
Newsom is promoting this strategy as winter 2021-22 was the driest in 100 years; 98 percent of California has been categorized in at least “severe” drought status with 17 percent in “exceptional” drought; 16 of the state’s 17 major reservoirs entered September below their average levels — several of them well below average.
However, of concern to the California Pool & Spa Association (CPSA) and the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) is what the governor and, to a greater degree, the State Water Board may seek to implement or recommend for purposes of reducing annual water demand in towns and cities.
Generally, the State Water Board recommends revisions, including conservation or reduction measures, to local governments for consideration for required updates to their water management plans. Those conservation measures or reduction actions often become more stringent as locals vote to move into progressive “Shortage Levels,” such as prohibiting residents from building new pools or filling their pools up with water.
Although the governor’s strategy only mentions efforts to encourage Californians to install artificial turf or drought-tolerant landscape to reduce water demand, the strategy paper is a working document, and accelerated efforts to meet its goals may be more expansive and could certainly include issues relative to water restrictions on pool and spa builders and homeowners. Ensuring the rights of Californians to have access to be able to improve their properties by building pools and spas, as well as being able to fill those pools and spas, is an ongoing priority for CPSA and PHTA. The associations’ Let’s Pool Together campaign is an active partner with the state’s Save Our Water campaign. As such, CPSA and PHTA are positioning the swimming pool and spa industry to be part of the solution as opposed to being viewed as water wasters.
According to the CPSA and PHTA, the governor’s strategy document is certainly a conversation starter. It is likely to awaken many diverse and competing interests that have, historically, found little middle ground.