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California Pool Industry Looking at Another Drought

Pool industry braces as California begins instituting new Water Regulations

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California Drought May Impact The Pool Industry

Folks in the pool industry still remember the bleak days of 2015 when there were mandatory water restrictions in place across California. Six years ago the governor hoped to reduce water consumption by 25% by targeting the pool industry. Leaders were able to unify and fight back to change the misconception that pools are water wasters.

The perception amid many homeowners that were facing all these crazy new water restrictions at the time was that inground swimming pools were wasteful uses of water. An alarming number of homeowners had taken to filling in their swimming pools as a result and new pool construction had slowed to a crawl in California.

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Although swimming pool construction has seen a tremendous resurgence with the Covid-19 pandemic, analysts fear that the bubble for pool construction is about to pop. Rising costs for construction materials, shortages of labor and ongoing price increases from the leading pool manufacturers have cut into the gains the swimming pool industry has made with consumers over the last 2 years. Issues like the ongoing drought in California aren’t helping matters.

An extreme drought is drying up California lakes and reservoirs and causing concern for experts in the pool industry.
An extreme drought is drying up California lakes and reservoirs and causing concern for experts in the pool industry.

California’s Drought & The Pool Industry

It’s not on the national radar yet, but California is facing a serious drought and there are growing concerns that it could adversely impact the pool industry yet again. Although Californians are not yet facing the mandatory restrictions they were in 2015, residents now find themselves confronted with a patchwork of new regulations.

Towns reliant on the hard-hit Russian River have imposed strict mandates in preparation for an impending crisis which they feel is coming. There is growing concern that many coastal areas may have to truck in water simply to get through the year. Simultaneously, most cities in California are preparing to weather the summer with only voluntary cuts and limited limitations, many of which are carryovers from prior droughts.

“We have a patchwork in part because (water) is managed locally,” said Felicia Marcus, who was responsible for leading the state of California’s response to the 2012-2016 drought under former Gov. Jerry Brown.

The situation is dire in some places, and those places are making calls for higher levels of conservation,” Marcus said. “In other places, they may be prepared, or they may be dreaming.

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Tracy, CA has traditionally been a good barometer on whether or not a drought may impact the pool industry. Residents in Tracy, CA were just told they will only be allowed to water their lawns on select days after the city council voted unanimously to impose more restrictions. There are 5 stages of water restrictions they impose, right now they are in the 3rd. The 4th level has restrictions on washing cars, while the 5th level restricts residents from refilling their pools without a separation tank and recovery system.

Record breaking heat and an extreme drought has many analysts in the pool industry concerned of a repeat of 2015.
Record breaking heat and an extreme drought has many analysts in the pool industry concerned of a repeat of 2015.

How bad is the drought right now in California?

This year, California regulators announced that they would deliver only 5% of the State Water Project’s supplies because of extreme drought conditions.  This year’s drought is the most dire situation Mendocino County has faced in decades. At the end of May, Lake Mendocino hit a record low of just 40% capacity. Earlier this month, the county faced projections that the reservoir could be dry by the end of the year.

“The aggressiveness and the severity of this drought, the way the drought is increasing is much greater than the previous drought,” Aaron Baker, chief operating officer at Valley Water, said. “Conditions will be far worse in 2022 if drought conditions continue and no action is taken.” 

Experts are concerned the drought in California could have negative implications for the pool industry.
Experts are concerned the drought in California could have negative implications for the pool industry.

The Real World Concerns of Extreme Drought

This extreme drought in California has been quickly drying up reservoirs and putting a tremendous strain on electrical grids. This mega drought has depleted the states 1,500 reservoirs statewide by over 50%. This Friday, over 85% of the state was classified as officially being in an extreme drought according to National Integrated Drought Information System. The problem is so severe that a recent warning said that the drought may kill nearly all juvenile salmon in the Sacramento river this year. Given the short 3 year life cycle of salmon, a one year wipe out could greatly increase the chances of extinction for the species.

While Governor Newsome has not yet instituted the 25% mandatory restrictions of 2015, in executive order signed on Thursday he encouraged all Californians to reduce water use by 15% as 50 of the state’s 58 counties are now a drought-related state of emergency.

California Drought Map courtesy of U.S. Drought Monitor

The PHTA Leads The Charge in Fighting Fake Drought News

One of the biggest challenges the pool industry faced back in 2015 was getting solidarity to fight negative publicity and connotations that inground pools were the equivalent of wasting water. The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance in coordination with the California Pool & Spa Association have gone to great measures in recent years releasing information that specifically addresses the myths and misinformation associated with inground pool water usage.

  • 85% of California’s water supplies are dedicated to agricultural use, 10% is dedicated to personal usage, and the remaining 5% for industrial and commercial purposes. If agricultural conservation measures were instituted to cut use by 5%, the amount available for domestic & commercial usage would increase by 1/3.
  • In a community where 800 new pools are built annually at an average cost of $20,000 each, about 33 percent of that $16 million (which comes to more than $5 million) represents wages of approximately 450 workers that contribute to the local economy.

Restricting Water Usage for Pools Is Not a Logical Answer To a Drought

In a state hard hit by Covid-19 restrictions and eager to get back to work, now is conceivably the worst possible time for California to begin instituting water restrictions on swimming pools. The pool industry accounts for hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for the state of California. During the recent pandemic the industry went to great lengths to remain operational in order to support the communities which it serves. It’s important to remember that in times of drought, that pools aren’t just a luxury, they are the lifeblood for many California residents and business owners.

The real answer to California’s drought is not by putting regulations on the pool industry but addressing some of these issues.

Let’s Look At The Numbers

California may be unprepared for a drought but it’s important to realize that instituting water conversation can hurt the pool industry and impact public perception like it did 6 years ago.

The amount of revenue an inground pool generates in terms of water usage versus what agricultural usage can produce for the same amount of water simply isn’t an apples to apples discussion and never will be unless California farmers start growing diamonds.

A study conducted by the City of Sacramento concluded that lawn irrigation use equals 49 inches per year and that swimming pool requirements are 39.6 inches per year, less walkway and decking areas equal to the actual pool area, which reduces total pool water use to 20 inches per year.

Obviously, regulating or prohibiting pool construction or the filling of swimming pools would have large-scale ramifications on the pool industry. Instituting restrictions will undoubtedly effect the taxes paid by these businesses and wage earners. Water restrictions impacting pools would also impact the amount of money consumers spend in the local economy. In this humble Editors opinion, there are more obvious places to conserve water than looking at soft targets like the pool industry which actually stimulate the economy and employ a good percentage of Californians.

4.7/5 - (12 votes)

Editor in Chief of Pool Magazine - Joe Trusty is also CEO of PoolMarketing.com, the leading digital agency for the pool industry. An internet entrepreneur, software developer, author, and marketing professional with a long history in the pool industry. Joe oversees the writing and creative staff at Pool Magazine. To contact Joe Trusty email info@poolmagazine.com or call (916) 467-9118 during normal business hours. For submissions, please send your message to submissions@poolmagazine.com

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Tesla Pool – Automaker Adds Swimming Pool To Charger Station

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Tesla Swimming Pool

One of the primary reasons consumers opt to purchase a Tesla is the robust availability of convenient charging stations. Recently, the automaker has experimented with adding amenities to its charging stations. New cube lounges at a Supercharger station in Germany come equipped with automated coffee, food, and more. Tesla is also adding other options and fun activities for drivers to enjoy while they wait for their vehicles to charge. The newest amenity they’re currently experimenting with is an above ground swimming pool.

A clip of the pool being installed prior to launch was shared with news sources.

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The swimming pool can be used by up to 4 people at a time for 10 minutes, giving folks just enough time to change into their swim suits and enjoy a quick dip while their vehicle charges. There are even Tesla-branded beach balls to play with while they’re swimming in the shipping container style above ground pool.

This promotional popup will open at the Tesla charging station in Hilden, Germany; which incidentally is one of the largest in the country with 40 chargers and 8 superchargers. The pool will be open from Thursday until Sunday. Tesla owners can drop in for a swim from 2:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.

What do you think about this idea? Is this something you’d like to see in the United States? Sound off in the comments and let us know.

3/5 - (2 votes)

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Pool Rental App Swimply Is The New Side Hustle For Homeowners

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Pool Rental App Swimply Is The New Side Hustle For Homeowners

Pool rental marketplace Swimply has created the ultimate side hustle for homeowners. Spending upwards of $100,000 to create the ultimate luxury outdoor living area is an investment some are willing to make. This is especially true if one can be confident they will recoup that investment quickly. Renting the pool to friends and neighbors is one smart way to do just that.

The Pool Rental Concept

Pool rentals are sweeping the nation and the innovative online marketplace Swimply is leading the charge. Described as “Airbnb of swimming pools,” Swimply debuted last year. According to the firm, there are over 20,000 swimming pools in all 50 states, as well as in Canada and Australia.

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After recently raising $40M in funding from AirBnB and Lime co-founders last year, Swimply is poised for tremendous growth moving into 2023. The service has been rapidly gaining traction with consumers who are attracted by the ability to rent a swimming pool by the hour.

Renting a pool by the hour may can be very profitable. Swimply has created the marketplace for renting a pool.
Renting a pool by the hour may can be very profitable. Swimply has created the marketplace for renting a pool.

Swimply’s Business Model is Unique

In the sharing economy, Swimply, definitely deserves recognition for their offering. Providing a marketplace that allows buyers and sellers to connect and rent a pool is at the core of the company’s business plan. The model is simple, Swimply takes 15% of the booking fee from hosts and 10% from guests.

Swimply’s pool rental marketplace can be lucrative for hosts and may not be as weird as it sounds. As water recreational facilities were shut down by COVID in the last two years, Swimply has emerged to fill the vacuum. Consequently, the company has grown exponentially.

We spoke with Swimply Co-Founder and COO Asher Weinberger last year about the revolutionary new technology which is connecting homeowners with an open marketplace of consumers looking to rent a backyard for a few hours.

Listen to our conversation on the Pool Magazine podcast:

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Pool Rental Marketplace Grew 5,000% During Covid

After a soft launch back in 2019, Weinberger quickly realized that the public was elated with their offering. “There was a tremendous amount of interest and at the time we could only meet 10 to 15% of the demand,” said Weinberger. “That helped set the stage for us because we learned a lot about what people wanted and how they were using the platform.”

“We caught huge tailwinds in light of Covid and grew roughly 5,000% year over year,” said Weinberger. Since then, Swimply’s marketplace has exploded with consumers searching for a safe recreational experience with friends and loved ones in an open outdoor setting. This has been true both on the guest side and the host side.

Homeowners Look To Monetize Their Pool

It appears that word has definitely begun to spread that renting your pool is a sweet new side hustle. One man in particular recently made the news after he reportedly netted $177,000 just by renting out his pool and backyard.

Jim Battan of West Linn, Oregon, told news sources, “I love to say that the pool has paid for itself and more. I built a man cave last year, and also credit that to my Swimply pool.”

Swimply As a Side Hustle

Being a Swimply host isn’t for everyone, according to Battan. The side hustle does require a fair amount of work on the part of the host. Maintaining the pool between guests involves much more than simply setting out fresh towels. His 26-foot by 18-foot pool and its accompanying pool house has cost him roughly $37,000 in maintenance over the last decade. On a typical week, Battan estimates that he and his wife Lisa spend approximately 12 to 14 hours cleaning and testing the water’s chemicals as well as managing all of their bookings.

“I love the income, but I generally caution people from it,” Battan told reporters. “Unless you’re retired or don’t have a day job, it takes a lot of time to learn about pool chemistry and management. It’s not good enough to just rely on a once-a-week service to come out look at your stuff. I look at my pool chemicals probably five to 10 times a day.”

Renting Your Pool By The Hour Can Be Profitable

It’s also important to note that Battan’s pool represents the best-case scenario. Currently, he’s Swimply’s top earner out of 25,000 pools in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. The average host earnings are between $10,000 to $20,000 per year.

Ned Gilardino is another top earner from Aurora, Colorado who is cashing in on the lucrative side hustle. Last year he rented his pool out roughly 500 times clearing close to $50,000 in the process.

“Not only has the extra money paid for the cost of maintaining the pool,” Gilardino told news sources, “it has actually brought in an entire new revenue stream for my family.”

Pool rentals vary by price and can be filtered to meet price, features, and amenities. - Photo Credit: Swimply
Pool rentals vary by price and can be filtered to meet price, features, and amenities. – Photo Credits: Swimply

Homeowners who are looking for MSI’s (multiple sources of income) can certainly put Swimply on their list of resources. Typically most swimming pools on the platform rent between $15 and $75 an hour. However, there appears to be no limit on how much hosts can earn. We’ve seen some pools in premium areas such as Beverly Hills rent for as much as $200 an hour. Those with luxury amenities in their backyard obviously can charge towards the higher end of the spectrum.

Guests can search for an ideal backyard in their price range to throw a pool party and even filter their search to show properties that have specific amenities. Finding a backyard with a fire pit, or an outdoor grilling area, or one that allows pets, is easy. Swimply made it simple to narrow down selections with the ideal features consumers are looking for.

The interface is simple and intuitive to use on both ends. Swimply also made it super easy for homeowners to track their reservations, communicate with guests and quickly get their pool rental up in their easy-to-use marketplace.

Swimply’s Contribution To The Shared Economy

Given that public pools are closing at an alarming rate, Swimply has also started filling a gap in underserved communities, much the way Uber and other sharing economy platforms have.

While the shared economy is a young concept itself; Swimply’s arrival simply ushers something we will undoubtedly see even more of in years to come. Though unexpected and a newcomer; one thing is certain, homeowners and consumers have embraced the concept of renting a pool by the hour.

4.6/5 - (17 votes)

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Sinkhole in Swimming Pool Kills Man, Swallows Guests

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Sinkhole in Swimming Pool Kills Man, Swallows Guests

A man was found dead after being swallowed by a sinkhole that opened up in a private swimming pool. The incident transpired in Israel where authorities are still trying to figure out what caused two men to be swept away by the receding water after a sinkhole sprang up within an inground swimming pool at a private property in central Israel. One was recovered dead at the scene on Thursday afternoon.

The body was located by search crews in the town of Karmei Yosef after a four-hour recovery operation conducted by rescue personnel who were lowered deep underground. The search was hampered by concerns that tunnels extending from the sinkhole could lead to a second collapse.

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It took rescuers several hours of searching before they were able to uncover the body of the man who had gone missing. The other 34-year-old man who had been trapped for some time, was saved and treated for minor injuries to his lower body.

Rescuers worked for hours to find the missing victims body. - Photo Credits: Fire and Rescue Services
Rescuers worked for hours to find the missing victims body. – Photo Credits: Fire and Rescue Services

Employees of a private company were having a pool party when the incident occurred. About 50 people were present at the time of the accident, according to one guest.

“The water level suddenly started receding and a hole opened up, creating a vortex that swept two people inside,” the guest told news sources.

She said a sinkhole opened a vortex formed which swallowed up the victim in a matter of seconds. She yelled at her coworkers to get out of the pool as the sinkhole emerged, but they initially assumed it was a game. Authorities say, fortunately, there were only 6 people in the pool at the time or injuries and casualties could have been far greater.

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“Seconds later, the ground just dropped… I watched two people just disappear,” she added.

According to police, an investigtion into the incident is currently underway, and they plan to find out if the pool was operating with the proper license.

4/5 - (8 votes)

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