Can a Pool Be Eco-Friendly During Our California Drought?
California pool owners are under increasing scrutiny right now, especially as our drought here intensifies. Many water districts are offering rebates for pool removal (a couple water districts are even not allowing new pools to be filled!), and there are home owners who have decided that replacing their pool with other landscaping works for them. But, that's not the case for everyone.
If you already have a pool, there are some actions you can take to make your pool more efficient. (We talked about this before in 10 Quick Tips About Drought and Landscaping.) First, investing in a tight fitting cover will help water loss due to evaporation. Second, having your pool checked for any cracks or leaks is a very smart thing to do - statistically, your pool has a 1 in 3 chance of having leaks. Not only will fixing any leaks help with water loss, but also your water bill!
Now, this is all well and good for those who already have a pool. But we've spoken to clients recently who want a pool for their home, but feel guilty about having one installed - and honestly, we can't blame them for feeling that way. But we wanted to take a look and see if there was any way a pool could be eco-friendly in this dry climate, and perhaps help some potential clients get that pool that they still desire.
Last May, Capital Public Radio covered just this topic, and one of the most interesting outcomes of their inquiry was to find that pools - over the long run - are actually more water efficient than certain types of landscaping. Most specifically, it's better than a plain, water-intensive lawn.
Now obviously a pool is still more water intensive than a well designed drought-tolerant landscape with creative hardscaping (which we personally love!), but at least the math shows that pools are not quite the boogeyman that they have been made out to be. If you want to ensure that your pool is even more eco-friendly than the above numbers, then you may want to consider an emerging trend: Natural pools.
With a natural pool, while obviously using water resources, you are also providing a natural habitat for local wildlife - birds, fish, and plants. In our ever-urbanizing Bay Area, creating even small additional footprints for our wild brethren can be very helpful! Plus, you and your family have the benefit of a pool that is clean and fresh without the use of chemicals. And they are gorgeous to boot!
As always, we would love to hear any thoughts that you have. And please do not hesitate to ask any questions!