With the approach of Day Zero now set to arrive this April, Capetonians – and our hearts go out to them – face having their municipal taps turned off. In a quandary as to keeping or closing up their swimming pools, owners have fallen prey to a plethora of enterprises, who bring in borehole water for Capetonian pools, at a price. Drought conditions call for drastic action indeed but we need to see the red flags and know when to call it a day.

First red flag for pool owners

At first, pool owners were permitted to use municipal water to top up swimming pools as long as pool covers were used. A wise move at that stage, considering the average pool level drops 5 cm per week. With pool covers on, evaporation is slowed to a mere 0,5 cm a week. But that was then.

Second red flag regarding swimming pools

Now, pool cover or not, no municipal water may be used for swimming pools. Entrepreneurial thinkers leapt on the borehole bandwagon, sinking new ones, reviving old ones, ferrying water in tankers from farm boreholes to help the city and suburban pool owners offset the drought conditions. While we sympathise all round, according to Section 22 of 1997’s Water Services Act, it’s illegal to sell water from private boreholes.

The borehole business

The water truck transporters claim they’re not charging for the water, just for the transport but on inquiry, customers have been paying anywhere between R 6 – 7 000 to for pool water – we leave you to join the dots. Besides, drawing those quantities of water – even if from your own borehole, requires a license to sell. Gone are the days when you thought you owned the water below your land – it was in apartheid days. Now, it belongs to the state as a national resource to be distributed under watchful eyes.

Thinking of sinking?

If you’re thinking of sinking your own borehole, be warned that you need to apply to the Mother City fourteen days prior to the installation and a meter must be fitted to measure the amount of water drawn. Your borehole must be registered and you need to put up notification signs that you have a borehole. Hopefully, the day doesn’t come when households are held up and mugged for their water!

If you do use borehole water for your swimming pool it will need serious treatment – the iron levels will likely be over the top and who knows what else has leached into our underground water sources. Test and treat is the way to go.

Pool doomsday

The worst thing pool owners can do is allow their pools to either stand stagnating – a great attraction for microbes and the associated health risk, or to leave a pool totally empty- causing major cracks and causing it to elevate and lift off the ground.

If the day comes and you realize it’s time to say goodbye to the pool, do it with due diligence. A fibreglass pool shell can be cut into with angle-grinders and the gaping hole filled with earth. Beware if the pool is cement though, as simply filling it with soil will turn into a swamp when the rains return – and they will. Make holes in the concrete for drainage before loading in the sand.

If you’re needing any advice regarding your pool at any time, don’t hesitate to come and chat to us at Pool, Spa and Filtration Supplies.