This summer, people in Lakeway, Texas might have less pool-inspired, summer fun than usual. In order to conserve water and stave off the economically damaging impact of a bad drought, Lakewood is deferring all new pool permits unless the applicants can show that their pool water will come from somewhere other than Lake Travis. The lake’s water level is currently 45 feet below average.
The entire city of Lakeway is under Stage 3 watering restrictions, which places several sets of restrictions on area residents and how much water they can use. Water customers are limited to one day of outdoor irrigation, and outdoor watering from 10am to 7pm is restricted. Other activities that are restricted include vehicle washing, operation of outdoor water features, and sidewalk washing. “We wanted to look at ways to reduce or eliminate non-essential uses that would draw from our drinking water,” said city spokesperson Devin Monk.
Along with banning new pools, the city has said no to landscaping at new construction sites. City leaders are working to create a suggestion list of drought-tolerant landscaping ideas, which is also known as xeriscaping.
“Mulch helps to contain water in soil in order to avoid rapid evaporation, placing at least 3″ of mulch around trees, shrubs, and bushes helps to maintain more water in the soil,” says Don, President of Saunders Landscaping Supply. “Decorative gravel is also a water friendly option that provides for beautiful landscapes and does not require any water to maintain.”
Not surprisingly, pool companies have been concerned with the local ordinance, saying that pools have little impact on large-scale water conservation, and that the move will cost the industry thousands of dollars in summer revenue. “A pool doesn’t use any more water than grass,” said Brett Abbott, a local pool marketer. City officials, however, are not willing to be lenient, and have even suggested that restaurants only serve tap water when asked. The drought could potentially be the worst since the dams were originally built on the Colorado river.