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Matt Gohlke / Pools

Pools can use water wisely

This has been a relatively mild summer thus far — especially compared to the last few summers we’ve experienced. But one concern we’ve had to deal with for the last few years is limited rainfall.

The current drought, combined with the continued influx of new residents to North Texas, has put a heavy burden on our resources, especially our water. Wichita Falls is currently under Stage 5 water restrictions — which means that swimming pools cannot be filled using city water. Although restrictions have not yet reached that level in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, it is something that we need to be aware of.

Many other parts of the country are also experiencing drought conditions. For example, California is in its fourth year of a drought and has thousands of swimming pools. The drought has forced Californians to look at their water usage in an effort to eliminate waste. Although I have always been concerned that pools put increased demand on our water sources, evidently that is not the case. Several studies and research papers indicate that pools and spas use less water than a traditional lawn.

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 per day, compared to 0.3 gallons for a pool.

The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals notes that “a swimming pool uses substantially less water than comparable landscaped and planted areas such as a lawn,” citing an analysis by the Arcade Water District in Sacramento, California.

Still, we all need to do our part to conserve the water that we have. We can install more water-friendly landscaping, and it is important that pool owners do their part to conserve water. Following are some water-saving tips for pool owners:

Maintain the proper chemical levels and adequate circulation time. This will help keep you from having to drain the pool to correct any problems.

Turn off unnecessary fountains and waterfalls. These can cause a significant amount of water loss due to evaporation.

If the pool is equipped with an overflow line, consider plugging it whenever people are swimming or when it is raining. This prevents water loss through the overflow line.

When adding water, be sure to keep from overflowing the pool. Forgetting to turn off the water can make for a costly waste of water.

Repair any swimming pool leaks. Even a small leak in either the pool equipment or the pool’s structure represents a substantial waste.

The website is a great source of water-saving tips for pool and spa owners. It also has a pool usage calculator to determine how much water your pool is using versus a lawn.

Let’s all do our part so that future generations can continue to enjoy the wonderful resources that the North Texas area has.

MATT GOHLKE owns Gohlke Pools, which has earned national awards, certifications and recognition in the pool industry. He can be reached at 940-387-7521 or