Drought Frequently Asked Questions


How many pools are there in California?

There are more than 1.2 million residential pools and 300,000 commercial pools, which includes hotels, apartments and municipal pools.

How many pools are constructed each year in California?

There were approximately 12,600 new residential pools constructed in California in 2013. Approximately 698 acre-feet of water were used to fill all of the pools built in 2013.

Why is the pool and spa industry important for our state's economy?

From the tens of thousands of small business owners and employees to the millions of dollars in economic output, the pool and spa industry helps keep California solvent.

Doesn't it make sense to target the pool and spa industry during a drought?

The governor has made it very clear he does not want local agencies to pass drought restrictions that will solely impact one industry. Every industry should be working together to save water during the drought. When water districts propose regulations affecting just pool and spa owners and builders, they are promoting a policy that will adversely affect just one industry. From builders to suppliers to maintenance workers, the pool and spa industry is composed of local small, often minority-owned, businesses. Imposing such industry- specific regulations will put hundreds of local workers out of business and mean less money for local governments that rely on money from building permits and tax revenues.

Does a pool or spa really save more water than a lawn?

Yes! A well-maintained pool or spa uses less water per day than an irrigated lawn. Since most pool designs include a footprint larger than just the pool itself, wooden or concrete decking replaces even more traditional, water-intensive landscaping. In fact, according to a study done by the Santa Margarita Water District, a 1,200 sq. ft. pool installation uses about the same amount of water as California-friendly, drought-resistant landscaping in the year after the pool has been constructed. In the first year of pool construction, a new pool requires less water than a traditional lawn. On average, water use, including filling a new 1,200 square-foot pool after it's installed is 32,000 gallons. A 1,200 square-foot lawn uses approximately 44,000 gallons per year.

Will a ban on constructing new pools really hurt the economy?

Yes. The pool and spa industry generates more than $5 billion in economic activity every year. In 2013, the California pool and spa industry contributed: $555 million in sales revenue from the installation and construction of all in-ground swimming pools in California. $918 million from retail/accessory purchases for all pools, which can include associated equipment and chemical purchases. $758 million from maintenance and/or recurring pool services for residential and commercial pools. $205,226 in state sales tax for every acre-foot of water used by the pool and spa industry.

How many jobs does the pool and spa industry provide?

In 2013 alone, more than 54,800 Californians were employed by the pool and spa industry. The pool and spa industry generates 11,700 jobs per 1,000 acre- feet of water it uses. That is considerably higher than other industries, like agriculture, which only produces 12 jobs per 1.000 acre-feet,

What can pool and spa owners do to save water during the drought?

Pool and spa owners should visit letspooltogether.com to learn more about tips on how to save water during the drought. Some simple tips include:

  • Using a pool cover, which decreases evaporation by 90 percent and makes a pool and decking as efficient as drought-resistant landscaping.
  • Making this a "splashless" summer since splashing accounts for considerable water loss.
  • Lowering your pool's water level to limit water displacement.