Despite the drought, Californians built the most backyard swimming pools since 2007 last year–and this year, the pace is outstripping 2014, according to industry tracking firm Construction Monitor. In 2014, over 11,000 residential swimming pools were built or rebuilt; this year’s pace will carry that number over 13,000.
Governor Jerry Brown and lobbyist John Norwood of the California Pool and Spa Association had a back-and-forth about local water agencies banning the filling of pools, according to Capital Public Radio. Norwood insisted that the ban stopped pool construction and was “a concern in terms of stopping economic activity.” Brown responded, “Has that happened yet?” Norwood then cited Milpitas and Manteca as two examples of the problem.
Norwood, backed by Jonathan Volzke with the Santa Margarita Water District, which conducted its own study, has asserted that pools, which add $5 billion a year and 50,000 jobs to the state’s economy, use less water than lawns. Vlozke told , “We went back and did the math, and found that with the pool and the associated decking around it, a pool can actually use less water than grass. And if pool covers are used and the project is big enough, it can actually be as efficient as California-Friendly plants.”
According to “The Big Atlas of LA Pools,” there are at least 43,123 pools in the L.A. Basin alone, in an area stretching from San Pedro to the Hollywood Hills and Malibu to Alhambra, not including the San Fernando Valley, half of the San Gabriel Valley nor the Inland Empire.