In the midst of a Stage 3 drought, the Australian state
of Victoria has banned the use of tap water to fill pools.
In response, the Swimming Pool and Spa Association of
Victoria is securing an alternative source solely for the
use of the industry.
The restriction took effect Jan. 1. The regulations
forbid new municipal pools or spas to be filled for the
first time unless a water conservation plan has been
prepared and approved. Existing pools cannot be topped up
without prior written approval.
The industry association has found an aquifer in the
suburbs of Melbourne and is negotiating with water
authority Southern Rural Water to obtain a license to pump
150 megalitres of water (nearly 40 million gallons) from
the underground source.
While much of Australia?s Southeast region is
undergoing drought, the state of Victoria, where Melbourne
is located, has suffered the most. ?We?ve
had some of our lowest rainfall and greatest
temperatures,? said Brendan Watkins, general
manager of SPASA Victoria, located in Melbourne. Right now,
local reservoir levels only sit at about 32 percent of
capacity, he added.
Though the Northern Hemisphere is in its winter,
Australia is in mid-summer. Fortunately, the ban began
after Christmas, which is akin to the start of swim season
in the United States, so pool openings weren?t
The retrieval of the water will cost approximately
$350,000 (Australian dollars), which equals about $273,000
(USD). Watkins said the association will dip into its
financial reserves to pay for the cost of tapping the
aquifer. ?The association?s had a
reasonably substantial fighting fund, and we?ve
been able to draw on the reserves to invest in
what?s ultimately the most vital element of the
pool and spa industry: water,? he said.
?The money?s been put away for a non-rainy
day, and that day has come.?
With 35,000 kilometers of coastline and a long tradition
in aquatics, swimming is one of the most popular pastimes