Water officials offer rebates for swimming pool covers

A swimmer makes his way back to the ladder in the dive pool of the Castaic Aquatic Center on Tuesday, June 6, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

After learning swimming pools use about the same amount of water as lawns to maintain, the local water officials who brought you the turf replacement program last year have come up with a similar conservation program for pools – not to replace them, but to cover them.

Officials at the Castaic Lake Water Agency are giving out rebates of between $100 and $200 dollars to Santa Clarita Valley residents who cover their swimming pools and prevent water-wasting evaporation.

Since launching the program in February, CLWA refund administrators have funded at least 60 rebates, agency spokeswoman Stephanie Anagnoson told The Signal Wednesday.

The program is part of the CLWA’s Santa Clarita Valley Water Use Efficiency Strategic Plan.

“Our rebate can pay up to $200 for a pool cover, but not for shipping or tax on the pool cover,” Anagnoson told The Signal Wednesday.

Agency staffers identified at least 11,000 pools in the Santa Clarita Valley, she said.

“We have been mailing postcards to these homeowners on a monthly basis as part of a targeted marketing campaign.

“Studies have shown that an uncovered pool uses just as much water per square foot as a lawn,” Anagnoson said.

“You can decrease the evaporation on a pool substantially by keeping a pool cover in place when you’re not using the pool,” she said, citing a number of research papers to support the program.

A pool cover will reduce the amount of “make-up water” needed by 30-50 percent, and at the same time reduce the pool’s chemical consumption by 35-60 percent, according to the Department of Energy.

Dirk Marks, the agency’s water resources manager, said of the pool cover rebate program recently: “We are pleased that there is a fair amount of interest in our newest water conservation program that provides a rebate for customers that purchase and install pool covers,” said Dirk Mark’s, CLWA’s water resources manager.

Agency staffers learned of the pool cover water savings from a report called: Splash or sprinkle? It compared the water use of swimming pools and irrigated landscapes, prepared by the Sacramento-based California Urban Water Conservation Council and a Colorado water consulting company called Aquacraft Inc.

In their research, the report writers break down the amount of water used in maintaining both a lawn and a swimming pool. First they studied homes without pools, or automated irrigation systems to study water use.

They found that:

  • Homes without automated irrigation or a swimming pool used an average of 20.8 inches of water per year.
  • Adding a swimming pool increased their water demand by 25 percent or up to 26 inches of water used in a year.
  • Also adding an automatic sprinkler system increased water demand 60.6 percent, or up to 33.4 inches of water per year.

It was little surprise to researchers then to find homes with both a swimming pool and an automatic sprinkler system used “by far the most water” – 45.4 inches per year.

Then they looked at how much water disappeared from a swimming pool – literally – through evaporation.

According to their research, annual evaporation from a swimming pool with total evaporative surface area of 800 square feet – or a pool 20 feet by 40 feet in size – was estimated as 25,000 gallons per year and 6,500 gallons per peak summer month in July.

A separate study conducted by the Alliance For Water Efficiency shows pools and irrigated grass used about the same amount of water on a square foot basis.

A third study, done last year at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo showed pool covers reduced evaporation by 95 percent.

Here is what you need to apply for the rebate:

  • account holder information
  • an image or scanned copy of your most recent water bill
  • an image of your pool
  • an image or scanned copy of your receipt

n the width and length of your pool

Any pool owner interested in putting the brakes on evaporation and saving pool water is urged to call officials at the CLWA or visit conservation.clwa.org.


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