Lakeway halts pool building permits to fight drought

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The drought has gotten so bad that the City of Lakeway is restricting construction of new swimming pools. And if conditions don’t improve, similar measures could take effect in Austin.

Hank Thompson has been building pools in and around Austin for more than three decades.

Lakeway’s decision to halt permits to build new pools there gave Thompson cause for concern.

“It was kinda shocking but contractors like us, it’s not a water restriction issue,” Thompson said, “because were trucking water from Hays County.”

That water from Hays County is then used to fill the pools he builds. He says it is his way to help lessen the burden on more water-strapped cities like Lakeway.

“We just wanted to get the signal out that were headed into a dire period where our water supply is so limited,” said Devon Monk with the City of Lakeway.

The Sierra Club of Austin says an average pool uses anywhere from 18,000 to 20,000 gallons of water to fill. They say up to 60 gallons of water per day can evaporate during the hot summer days.

Austin’s water department says water restrictions on filling pools would automatically kick in if the city reaches Stage 4 water restrictions. Austin is now on Stage 2.

“If I fill up this pool in a few hours,” Thompson said as he worked, “then I can start the pumps put the chemicals in the same day.”

The City of Lakeway said late Wednesday afternoon they will accept and process pool permits if applicants have a documented source of water other than Lake Travis.

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