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Water Issues Coming to a Head in California

While many have assumed that the end of California’s five-year-long drought last winter meant the end of the pool industry’s troubles, recent events have shown that this is not the case. Despite the fact that the California Pool and Spa Association worked to ensure that restrictions against using water for pools and spas were removed from the guiding documents for Urban Water Management Plans, just this week we received notice that the City of Lathrop was voting on enacting a plan that did just that. The new ordinance on drought regulations would eliminate all water for pools and spas in Stage 3, only one stage after simply requiring that pools and spas remain covered while not in use. Even though covering pools makes them more water efficient that drought tolerant landscaping, this ordinance goes several steps further to unfairly restrict water usage in a way that does not amount to any measurable water savings.

Additionally, this week the CPSA has also heard from a pool builder in Anaheim who has run into significant delays while trying to pull permits on account of the Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance. Even though the project in question does not come under the purview of MWELO based on the size of the pool, the officials with the city are requiring the builder to contract with a landscape architect to do a full landscape water efficiency plan for it. Because of the vagueness of the language in MWELO that does not fully clarify when a project is new construction or rehabilitation, pools are already being caught in the crossfire by confused or misinformed officials. This is the exact scenario that the CPSA has been warning about, and if more is not done to either clarify the language or give pools special designations, it will continue.

In both of these cases the CPSA is hard at work to ensure that the pool industry is protected. We are in discussions with the city of Lathrop after attending a city council meeting at which the ordinance was debated, and will continue to work until it is changed. We have also worked to advise the pool builder who has been delayed by the city of Anaheim, but we cannot do this alone. Working on these complex water issues is time consuming and expansive, and in order to continue our work we will need the full support of not only our members but the entire pool and spa industry. Whether it’s attending a city council meeting, or staying informed on your local MWELO implementation, or even just urging your peers and colleagues to join the CPSA, every bit of support counts. If there is to be a bright future for the pool and spa industry in California, or even one at all, we need you.