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Why swimming pools are getting a break despite unprecedented water restrictions in Southern California

Hayley Smith, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

Other agencies are taking things a step further, including some retailers that purchase supplies from MWD members.

Ventura County Public Works, which receives some water from the Calleguas Municipal Water District, is prohibiting filling new residential pools and refilling existing pools with more than one foot of water, according to its website. (Residents who already have approved permits for new pools and spas are exempt.)

But the nearby Triunfo Water and Sanitation District, which also receives water from Calleguas, does not include pools in its current Stage 1 ordinance. However, it does say it will prohibit "the filling or topping off of any new or existing residential pools" in Stage 2.

Others follow similar patterns. The Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District "does not have any specific restrictions on new construction of pools, repairs or refill," said spokeswoman Patty Cortez, but allows each of its member agencies to set rules at a local level.

One such agency, Golden State Water Co. — a supplier for state water-dependent areas in Claremont and Simi Valley — does not mention pools in its current ordinance calling for a 20% reduction and one-day-a-week watering. Instead, customers will "need to manage all usage (indoor and outdoor including pools) to avoid the [overuse] surcharge," general manager Benjamin Lewis wrote via email.

The Inland Empire Utilities Agency, an MWD member based in San Bernardino, is also leaving it up to local retailers to choose their own course of action. That could include "partial or total prohibitions against using hoses to wash paved areas, limits on car washing and filling or refilling swimming pools, and restrictions on watering times," IEUA spokesman Andrea Carruthers said.


Some people such as Andre, the Alhambra resident, are hoping officials will take that responsibility to heart. Though he lives in a condo where his outdoor water use is already limited, he said he is looking into purchasing water-saving shower heads to cut back on his use indoors.

And though he has enjoyed community pools with his kids, he encouraged "those in charge to continue to find ways to do more."

"When I think of water conservation, I don't think of taking water from my neighbors but leaving water for my children," he said. "It may be that the weather will shift, or new technology developed, and our water supply will return. But until it does, what kind of L.A. do we want our kids to inherit?"


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