Mike the Poolman Blog

How does swimming pool water consumption affect the California drought?

February 7th, 2014

Did you know that swimming pools consume less water than your lawn?
Its true and it’s not even a contest.  A properly maintained swimming pool uses far less water than a properly maintained lawn. How much less? Half as much.

According to the California Department of Water Resources’ published Model Landscape Ordinance of 2010 (1), the landscape of an average single family home in California will require just shy of 100,000 gallons per year. Landscapes designed under a more recent ordinance will need 87,000 gallons of water per year, on average.

An analysis in Sacramento states: “Lawn irrigation use equals 49 inches a year. Pool use is 20 inches a year…so that a swimming pool uses substantially less than the same area developed in lawn and/or landscape.”

According to Stu Campbell’s The Home Water Supply: How to Find, Filter, Store, and Conserve It, a lawn requires 0.6 gallons of water per square foot each day, compared to 0.3 gallons for a pool.

Swimming pools and their water consumption are a huge concern here in California due to the drought and they should be, that is, LEAKING SWIMMING POOLS SHOULD BE. Pools are proven to consume less water than lawns and landscaping- and again, on average, more than 50% less. A leaking swimming pool obviously uses drastically more depending on the extent of the leak. Leaky pools and leaking lawn, shrub and tree irrigation should be repaired ASAP to prevent unnecessary waste.

Pools with evaporation devices (solar covers/ solar rings/ specialty chemicals) consume even less water because they prevent evaporation- up to 80%. So… if your pool doesn’t leak and you use a solar blanket you are already providing a tremendous benefit to our community. If you’re not using a solar blanket please consider one. I personally use and prefer solar rings because of their ease of removal and setting back in place.

An average swimming pool loses about a quarter of an inch of water each day to evaporation. As you’d expect, the equation varies with several factors: wind, humidity and sunlight. Folsom isn’t prone to wind or humidity but it frequently surpasses 100 degrees in the summer. As evaporation averages go, Sacramento at 51.9 is just above the California state evapotranspiration (ETO) median of 50 (refer to pages 9 & 13).

So… fix any landscape &/or pool leaks, use evaporation devices on the swimming pool and water your lawn as needed to help California through the drought of 2014.

(1) Water Use in the California Residential Home January, 2010

Mike the Poolman
Pool Service & Repair in Folsom, CA since 1995

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