LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — With Southern Nevada’s ever increasing mega-drought, the Southern Nevada Water Authority is looking to cut outdoor water use everywhere they can.
To help water supply strains, SNWA is working with local jurisdictions to modify building codes for new residential pools. This would limit new pools or spas to 600 square feet per property. This will be aimed at single family homes.
Bronson Mack with SNWA said, "We have certainly seen droughts in other communities that have required people to drain their swimming pools or prevent swimming pool construction. What we are talking about here in Southern Nevada is simply limiting the size of swimming pools to 600 square feet. That’s going to reduce the surface area and the evaporation of that swimming pool by about 10 percent."
While this may not seem that big, the average residential pool in Southern Nevada is 475 square feet according to SNWA.
"We have seen a proliferation in excess of one thousand, two thousand or three thousand square feet. There is one right now that is 5,000 square feet that is looking to be permitted. I don’t know about you but that is 2 times the size of my residential home," Mack said.
Clark County commissioners and the Las Vegas Valley Water District approved the new restrictions on Tuesday. They will go into effect for new pools after September 1st.
Marv Howell, owner and operator of pool building company California Pools says many in the pool building industry were blindsided when Las Vegas Valley Water District sent out a notice in the beginning of June that they were working with local jurisdictions to cut down new pool construction to 600 square feet.
"If you have a 600 square foot pool, you can’t even put a diving board on it. You can’t swim laps in it. It’s hard to exercise. A 800 to 1000 square foot pool would be a pretty reasonable size restriction. It would still allow the average person in a tract neighborhood to be able to build a decent size pool that they can recreate in," says Howell.
The pool industry brought alternatives to the table such as automatic pool covers to limit evaporation or extra fees for large pools presented by pool industry leaders. He explains it takes about 2 to 4 weeks on average to get a permit to build but could take longer if the pool design is more complicated or larger. While current projects with their permits won’t be affected, those still waiting have a short period of time to get them approved.