Are we allowed to fill above-ground pools?

04/17/2014 12:00 AM

04/16/2014 7:39 PM

Q: Are we allowed to fill above-ground pools? I bought mine at the end of last year. It’s 18 feet in diameter by 4 feet deep. – S. Smith, Citrus Heights

A: Your pool is OK to fill under current water restrictions for your area. But if you’re going to fill it for the summer, do it now, because restrictions could get tougher.

“Most agencies are not restricting pool-filling right now,” said Amy Talbot of the Regional Water Authority, the umbrella agency that represents water providers in Sacramento, El Dorado and Placer counties. “They do in later stages (of drought restrictions).”

The same drought rules apply to above-ground and in-ground pools.

“Agencies don’t designate between above-ground and below-ground pools,” Talbot said. “Both are treated the same.”

Stage 3 restrictions are in effect in Citrus Heights, as well as in nearby Roseville and San Juan water districts. The restrictions discourage pool-filling but don’t ban it. They state, “Pool draining and refilling shall be allowed only for maintenance, health or structural considerations.”

Citrus Heights Water District considers filling one’s pool for summer use as “maintenance.”

“It would be preferable if the customer kept the pool filled and covered during the winter months and refreshed the water for the summer months,” Talbot noted.

Your pool holds approximately 7,500 gallons. A pool cover can prevent about 90 percent of evaporation. If you only have to replace 750 gallons instead of the full pool, that’s a significant savings.

But if Citrus Heights moves to Stage 4, things change, Talbot said. “Stage 4 Water Crisis (rules) state, ‘No potable (drinking) water from the district’s system shall be used to fill or refill swimming pools, artificial lakes, ponds or streams. Water use for ornamental ponds and fountains is prohibited.’ ”

Other local districts have similar policies in Stage 4 restrictions.

Find out more about restrictions for specific water agencies (and tips for saving water) at

Submit your question for The Sacramento Bee’s water team.

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