(CBS SF) — Pools have been losing their appeal in parts of the Bay Area as the worst drought in decades continue to shape residents’ relationship with water.
So far this year, permits for new pools have nosedived in San Jose as permits for pool removals rise, according to the San Jose Mercury News. In Concord, new pool construction has dropped 50 percent since 2010 with the number of new pools now equal to the number of pool demolitions. And Walnut Creek has issued more permit applications for pool removals than applications for new pools.READ MORE: California Drought: Healdsburg Bans Sprinklers; Sets Personal Water Use To 74 Gallons A Day
Pools are still popular in some cities like San Ramon, which has seen over 180 new permits and only about five pool demolition permits so far this year.3-Alarm Fire Burns 2 Buildings at West Oakland Recycling Center
As California moves into its third year of drought, cities’ are tightening up on water waste by imposing new fines, hiring water cops and giving rebates for removing a lawns and pools.
The East Bay Municipal Utility District estimates that demolishing a pool will cut the average homeowner’s water usage by roughly 1,200 gallons a month and encourages residents to ditch the pool with rebates of 50 centers-a-square foot — the same rebate for removing a lawn. Rebates stretch as high as $2-a-square foot for water districts like Santa Clara Valley.
But there’s conflicting research. A study done by the Santa Margarita Water District in Orange County found that an uncovered pool uses less water than the traditional landscaping — 96,373 gallons for an uncovered pool compared with 116,813 gallons for landscaping over a five-year period. The number of gallons used for pools drop even more when it’s covered.MORE NEWS: Update: One Killed, Two Injured When Truck Crashes Into Diners at San Jose Sports Bar
Aside from the drought and stricter water rules, expensive maintenance and lack of use are other reasons why more residents are opting for a splash-less backyard.