What is the best use of our water?
It’s a difficult question to answer, and most of us would answer differently.
Last Wednesday, the WSWSC board voted to allow swimming pools to be filled from the water system rather than requiring owners to truck water in. Safeguards were put in place to ensure the water system is not overtaxed:
- Filling can only be done at a rate of 5 gallons per minute. For reference, an open garden hose will normally deliver between 20 and 30 gallons per minute.
- Filling can only be done when the water system is operating normally. The tank must be full and there can be no major leaks.
- The owner must notify PGMS when they plan to start. At that time, they will be informed as to whether or not they can commence filling. If a water system issue comes up at any time during the filling process, PGMS will tell the owner to stop the process.
To many, this may seem to counter our regular conservation message. We’ve created a Q&A to help explain our rationale below:
Pools use a lot of water. Aren’t we worried that lots of new pools will overburden our water system?
A current count revealed there are 4 pools in Whitewater Springs with one under construction. For the sake of argument, let’s say that 4 new pools are built in 2023. Most pools are about 20,000 gallons equaling a total of 80,000 gallons to fill all four. Since we pump approximately 11 million gallons of water annually, 80,000 gallons amounts to 0.7% of the total water usage. Literally a drop in the bucket. Maintenance filling for the average, well maintained pool is less than 500 gallons per week and is not a significant load to the system.
Aren’t pools just a waste of our precious resources? Shouldn’t we just tell someone who wants to build a pool no?
Defining water waste can be very subjective. One could argue that any water use above our normal household average use of 4,500 gallons per month is wasteful. However, everyone in this community has a right to use their share of our water in ways that are important to them. Maybe a resident likes to wash their car every weekend in the driveway. Washing a car typically uses 100 gallons of water. Or maybe you like gardening. A 1,000 square foot garden uses about 600 gallons per week. Like a big lawn? A 1,000 square foot lush, green lawn consumes about 600 gallons per week. Always dreamed of a pool? A typical pool will lose around 500 gallons per week based on surface area, more if there are leaks in the system or plaster. So, it’s important not to judge your neighbors. You may be using more than you think.
What about the water restriction stages?
Information about the water restriction stages can be found here. In a nutshell, we are in Stage I – Voluntary Conservation for half of the year just as a matter of water awareness. Stage II – Also Voluntary, has occurred, for example when the large leak happened this summer. If we find it necessary to implement Stage III or Stage IV pool filling will be partially or completely restricted.
How much water do I have a right to as a resident?
Your water right, based on CTGCD (Central Texas Groundwater Conservation District) regulations, is 1/2 acre-foot of water per acre of land per month which calculates to about 13,600 gallons per month. Fortunately, the average home in Whitewater Springs only uses about 4,500 gallons per month.
What keeps us from being inundated with new pools?
There are a number of things that dissuade people from installing a pool in Whitewater Springs. The most obvious is the fact that we have a great community pool. It’s a great way to meet your neighbors while cooling down from the summer heat. Another reason is cost. Pools are expensive to build, maintain and yes, the additional water can be expensive. Filling a 20,000-gallon pool will cost about $540 at our current rates. There are other costs and time commitments that makes owning a pool less attractive to many people; however, for those that have dreamed of owning a pool our water system can accommodate it.
I hope this clarifies things a bit. As always, if there are questions, please email email@example.com.