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Pool Builders in a Drought Offer Their Side of Story

TIMES STAFF WRITER

With the five-year drought threatening to put the local pool builders in the tank, industry officials are trying to douse talk that swimming pools and spas are wasteful users of water.

So the local chapter of the National Spa and Pool Institute has organized a meeting today with representatives of Southland water organizations in an effort to put forward the industry’s side of the water story. “We want to prevent knee-jerk legislation,” said Dave Bezanson, chairman of the local NSPI chapter and general manager of Mission Pools. Cutting “the amount of water a pool uses is not going to save appreciably very much water and it will wreak havoc on the building industry.”

The meeting comes at a time that pool builders are facing a slump in business, some related to the drought and some to the real estate recession. Some pool contractors report sales are off by as much as 50% thus far this year.

And they are blaming the downturn in part on misinformation about the pools use of water. Already four cities in Orange County have enacted pool/spa filling restrictions and five city councils are considering the possibility of enacting them

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Cecil Fraser of Swan Pools in Santa Ana normally increases his staff four-fold in March--the start of the pool-building season. But he isn’t doing any seasonal hiring this year.

“We’re just starting into the season, but business is off by 40%,” he said.

Fraser said that pools use an extremely small percentage of water for the county. He said pools in Orange County use about 100 acre-feet a year. He added that total water usage in the county is 570,000 acre-feet. An acre-foot is 326,000 gallons.


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