"In today's economic climate, budgets are being [more] closely scrutinized and spending is being [more] carefully controlled, not only by supervisors and boards but also by patrons," says Shawn DeRosa JD, president of DeRosa Aquatic Consulting in Boston.

On that assessment, DeRosa suggests all operators take a proactive stance and begin reviewing every aspect and expenditure of their facilities. For example, overnight or during low-use periods, if your pool has adequate turnover rates, is it possible to lower chlorine residuals to just above 1.0 ppm and still maintain water clarity?

Other simple changes might be switching to calcium chloride or sodium bicarbonate sold in bags. Bags might be less convenient than chlorine in buckets, but it's one way you could reduce expenses. "Any money saved right now is important," DeRosa notes.

But he cautions against hasty decisions, warning that acting rashly could cause long-term financial challenges. "Eliminating a training budget will reduce operational expenses, but should an incident lead to a lawsuit, pre-service and in-service training will most certainly be a key issue in litigation," DeRosa says. "This could lead to a major verdict, or settlement, against the facility for negligent management and operations. In the end, that would cost much more."

DeRosa adds that while running a pool is certainly more challenging in today's economic climate, the good news is that proactive operators who strategize to maintain a more efficient facility will be better positioned to thrive in the long run. "Those in aquatics do a good job operating [on small budgets], and during difficult financial times we must continue do so," he says.