Lakeway, Brushy Creek halt swimming pool permits

By CASSIE MCKEE, Four Points News

The neighboring City of Lakeway issued a moratorium on all new swimming pool permits last week in an effort to slow all non-essential water use in the city during this drought.images

“We are here on the lake, it’s a part of our community. As we watch the lake levels and our water supply diminish before our eyes, we wanted to look at the steps we can take to address that,” Lakeway spokesman Devin Monk told the Austin American-Statesman last week. On May 20 the moratorium was issued.

Also last week, Lakeway Mayor Dave DeOme issued an order lifting requirements on new construction projects to have landscaping such as grass and trees. Lakeway is currently under stage 3 water restriction, meaning residents can only water their lawns one day per week.

The city of Austin is currently under stage 2 water restriction, which also allows watering only one day per week; however, watering with a handheld hose is allowed anytime.

Dan Edison

Dan Edison

Dan Edison, owner of Austin’s Innovative Pools and Spas, has designed more than 600 hundred pools in Central Texas and many in Four Points. He said this is the first time in the 13 years of owning his company that he’s heard of a city placing a ban on pool permits. He said the Brushy Creek Municipal Utility District also issued a ban on pool permits last week; however, an addendum was added that allows new pools as long as the water is trucked in from somewhere else.

While Lakeway’s move won’t affect his business directly, he is worried that it may cause other surrounding cities to take similar action.

“If other ones start following suit, that could be pretty disastrous for the pool industry,” Edison said.

He said he feels that pools are an easy target and aren’t necessarily the biggest water users.

Stu Campbell, author of The Home Water Supply: How to Find, Filter, Store, and Conserve It, writes that pools actually use less water overall than lawns. He found that a lawn requires 0.6 gallons of water per square foot each day, compared to 0.3 gallons for a pool.

“In the hottest of summer, you might have to top off pool an inch a week,” Edison said. “If someone really cared about water usage, they’d say stop watering lawns. It’s easy to pick on the ugly duckling.”

Philip Jalufka, president and CEO of Legacy International, a marketing firm for several new, high-end communities in Lakeway, said that while rulings are under review and until he receives additional clarification, he prefers not to comment on the issue.

“Our communities are doing extremely well and will continue to do well in spite of continued drought concerns and measures,” Jalufka said.