Swimming pools need not be wasteful
Swimming pools use a huge amount of water, but if they are designed well to use rainwater and protected with a Smart WaterMark pool cover they don’t have to be wasteful. Remember, it is possible to enjoy water whilst not wasting it at the same time.
There are a number of effective ways to reduce water wastage in the pool and spa:
- Reduce evaporation
- Capture rainfall to refill your pool
- Reduce backwash on your filter
Evaporation is a major cause of water loss from your swimming pool. It is important to remember that the evaporation rate is highest in the early evening as the air cools and the water remains warm.
- Pool covers
A pool cover is the most effective way to reduce evaporation. A good pool cover, if properly used, will reduce water evaporation from your pool and also reduce your pool chemical and salt bill. Pool covers range from simple leaf covers (which reduce evaporation by around 40%) though to thicker blankets and security covers (which can save up to 90% evaporation).
- Pool blankets
These offer a more affordable option and are available in bubble plastic or foam, which float on the water’s surface. If used with a roller they can be easily removed before pool use, then spread again after you have finished swimming for the day.
- Liquid pool covers
These are a new alternative available if you don’t want to hide your pool water with a cover or blanket. The chemical forms a barrier on the water’s surface which inhibits evaporation by up to 40%. It can either be added to the pool daily by hand or by using an automatic metering system.
- Increase shade
Covering your pool with a shade will further reduce evaporation as well as protecting swimmers from harsh sunrays. Use shade cloth or a shade sail.
- Prevent wind exposure
Wind contributes to evaporation. To reduce water loss, adjust the landscape around your pool with walls and hedges that create shelter from the wind.
Capture rainfall to refill your pool
Installing a rainwater tank is a great way to reduce the use of mains water in your swimming pool. Rainwater diverters are an inexpensive alternative to installing a tank. They attach to a downpipe and can be used to divert rainwater into your swimming pool. In large downpours, you will need to monitor the water level in your pool so that it does not overflow. You should consult a plumber about stormwater diversion.
Reduce backwash on your filter
Sand filters require backwashing which can use up to 8000L of water every year. Purchase a cartridge filter if you are installing a new pool or replacing the filter. Cartridge filters do not require backwashing to be cleaned so they use less water. Backwashing a sand filter should be carried out once every 4–6 weeks. Only backwash until the glass goes clear – backwashing for longer will waste excessive amounts of water.
Avoid overfilling your pool as this will prevent your filter from working effectively and will cause water to overflow. The water level should be about half way up the skimmer box opening for the filter to function properly. If you want to allow the water level of your pool to drop below this, you will need to buy a T-piece suction line which connects to the skimmer box allowing the filter to function normally.
Some quick tips:
- Backwash only when necessary.
- Keep the pool and filters clean to reduce frequency of filter backwashing.
- If acid has been used to clean the pool, the water should be neutralised.