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Swimming Pools, Golf Courses Face Different Rules in Efforts to Reduce Water Usage

Published on Monday, June 20, 2022 | 10:13 am

Pasadena, like all Southern California, is falling into a crippling drought and the local water use restrictions for residents and businesses reflect these conditions. But how do the local water use rules and restrictions apply to home swimming pools and golf courses? 

Surprisingly, even with the Level 2 Water Supply Shortage Plan currently implemented in Pasadena, Pasadena Water and Power does not restrict water use for residential swimming pools. It merely “strongly encourages” best practices for pool and spa owners, a PWP statement said. 

Among the best practices listed in the statement is keeping pool covers on when the pool is not in use, checking periodically for leaks in the system, using cartridge pool filters and incorporating a pre-filter, keeping the pool clean, and lowering the water temperature to reduce the water lost to evaporation and save energy, among others. 

In August 2021, the Pasadena City Council put in place a  Level 2 Water Supply Shortage Plan for both commercial and residential Pasadena Water and Power (PWP) customers. The plan restricts outdoor watering to two days per week during summer months, and one day per week during winter months. 

These early actions to address the drought resulted in an 8-percent water reduction in Pasadena when compared with 2020 water usage, PWP said.

Elsewhere in southern California, individuals and organizations have stated that prohibiting the filling of swim pools would not make a significant impact at all in the effort to conserve water. 

“Pools use very little water and, as such, there is no basis in fact or science that would indicate that banning the filling of swimming pools would have anything but a ‘de minimis’ impact on water conservation,” the California Pool and Spa Association said in a letter to the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, a member agency of the Metropolitan Water District that serves customers in Calabasas, Agoura Hills and other nearby areas. 

The letter was quoted in the LA Times

A statement by the PWP about water restrictions for golf courses said that “Pasadena’s largest non-residential water customers, including golf courses, may submit an alternative efficient water use plan to support the recommended 15% water conservation target, in lieu of limiting irrigation to specific days. Current Level 2 prohibits the filling or re-filling of ornamental ponds, except to the extent needed to sustain aquatic life or for when used for wildfire suppression. This includes ponds on golf courses.”

Brookside Golf Course in Pasadena has already turned off water to parts of the course that don’t affect the play, Brandon Fox, the PGA director of golf for the Rose Bowl Stadium told Eyewitness News

Fox added that Brookside is using new “technology and procedures to scale back water usage throughout the property.”

Golf courses fall in a category responsible for using 9% of all the state’s water, according to the California Department of Water Resources. 

While some golf courses are strictly directed to reduce water use even if it means that certain areas of the course will look different, others in southern California are using recycled water to keep the grass green. 

“PWP continues to work closely with golf courses, and other commercial customers, to reduce water use and improve efficiency. Every water user in Pasadena has to be part of the solution.”

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