LAGUNA BEACH – Last night the California Pool & Spa Association continued its vigorous defense of the industry and successfully led stakeholder opposition against the moratorium on new pool and spa construction in Laguna Beach by providing expert testimony before the City Council regarding the water savings and economic benefits generated by responsible pool ownership. On July 14th the Council adopted a 45 day prohibition on the issuance of permits for new pool and spa construction after a well-intentioned but imprudent decision – without any public notice whatsoever – that shut down the $5 billion industry overnight. After listening to industry representatives, including APSP, small business owners and local residents, the Council rejected an extension of the prohibition after learning that pools typically replace water-intensive landscapes with a much more water efficient pool that is comparable to drought resistant landscaping, and by doing so reaffirmed the precedent that pools are not water wasters.
“This is another win for those who make a living in the pool and spa trade,” stated CPSA President John Norwood. “Time and time again this association has responded to knee-jerk reactions by lawmakers who understand the severity of the drought but often make impulsive decisions without examining the facts. Research by water districts and municipalities alike has demonstrated that the average swimming pool installation reduces outdoor water irrigation by two-thirds, and the water saved during the construction period itself is more than the pool-fill amount. Moreover, once the pool is built it takes about the same amount of water annually as does drought resistant landscaping for the same area.”
There are more than 1,200 pools in Laguna Beach and 28 pool and spa applications that have been completed but are pending Design Review Board and hearing action, as well as an additional 26 pool and spa applications that have been submitted to the City but have not undergone the review process. Despite having a strong market for swimming pools and spas, City Officials acknowledged that it would require less than 0.02% of the total amount of water distributed by both water districts serving Laguna Beach to fill every new swimming pool in the region annually. After a thorough review of the water use by swimming pools it becomes glaringly obvious that moratoriums on construction and filling are inconsistent with water savings, rather attention should be focused on the utilization of pool covers to reduce as much as 90 percent of evaporation. In addition, the council added a provision that prohibits continuously running auto fills, but allowing timed or weather connected auto fill devises.
In the past month alone CPSA has been instrumental in the repeal of pool and spa fill bans in a variety of cities across the state, including West Sacramento, Thousand Oaks, Culver City, as well as Morgan Hill who is in the process of removing their prohibition. In addition, CPSA has also defeated proposed pool construction moratoriums in the cities of Malibu and Santa Barbara. The victory in Laguna Beach is further testament to the fact that the industry can defeat proposed restrictions on pools and spas during stages before the complete prohibition on outdoor irrigation if they pro-actively engage lawmakers.