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How the Pool, Hot Tub and Spa Industry Can Help Combat the Ongoing California Drought

Despite an unseasonably wet end to 2021, California is still in the midst of a megadrought, with more than 80% of the state experiencing severe drought conditions or worse. Rainfall in January and February was far below average and reservoir levels remain critically low, affecting industries across the state. Historically, severe drought conditions have led water districts to implement urban water management plans that impose water use restrictions on the construction and refilling of pools and hot tubs, even though such restrictions very seldomly result in any measurable water savings.

Let’s Pool Together

At the start of the year, the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) and California Pool & Spa Association (CPSA) teamed up to re-launch their drought awareness campaign, entitled Let’s Pool Together. The campaign is focused on changing consumer water use habits to support water conservation efforts, and educating the public and policy makers on the facts surrounding the pool, hot tub and spa industry in California. 

The campaign is based on three critical facts:

  1. Pools and spas are not water wasters.

  2. The pool, hot tub and spa industry is critical to California’s economy.

  3. Pool, hot tub and spa owners can practice water conservation with measurable results.

A consumer website and social properties were designed to increase awareness of practical water conservation methods both inside and outside of the home, as well as provide facts and tips for optimizing pool and spa usage even amidst drought conditions. More than 16,500 new residential inground pools were constructed in California in 2020, reflecting a 17% increase from the year prior. The pandemic has led many people to seek respite in their homes and backyards, and restrictions limiting construction or filling of pools and hot tubs will directly impact this behavior without any measurable impact on the drought.

In addition to the effect on consumers, drought-related restrictions on the industry will have a significant and detrimental impact on California. In 2020, the pool, hot tub and spa industry contributed more than $5 billion to the state’s economy, $3.1 billion of which was spent on retail, accessories and service. The industry also contributes more than 94,000 jobs and requires permit fees and payroll taxes be paid, which helps to stimulate local economies. 

What PHTA/CPSA Is Doing and How You Can Help

CPSA is diligent in monitoring urban water management plans in California cities to ensure they do not include restrictions on the construction or filling of pools, but this is a monumental job. PHTA and CPSA need early notice that there is a prohibition being considered, and need the involvement of local pool professionals.

The pool and spa service industry can play an important role in helping to protect against these restrictions. As a direct contact with consumers, you can provide important resources and knowledge to encourage water conservation among your customer base and help spread the word that pools and hot tubs are not the water wasters that people tend to think they are.

In addition, one of the best things a pool owner can do is properly maintain their pool or spa — this is where you come in! By sharing these facts and tips with your customers, you can encourage them to schedule routine maintenance appointments and help ensure their vessel is in tip-top shape for the season.

The organizations encourage you to utilize the materials provided in the Drought Resource Toolkit and to help spread the word that pools and spas are fantastic investments that can be used responsibly, even amidst severe drought. 

Visit www.LetsPoolTogether.com and follow them on Facebook @LetsPoolTogether and Twitter @PoolTogetherCA for more information, or access industry materials at www.phta.org/advocacy/state-local-issues/drought-restrictions-water-conservation/.

"Our business is your business, and we must all “pool together” to protect it for generations to come," says PHTA. 

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