City Of Scottsdale Rewarding Residents Who Remove Their Pools, But Is It Worth The Financial Plunge?

By Annika Cline, Mark Brodie, Steve Goldstein
Published: Friday, September 2, 2016 - 5:53pm
Updated: Monday, September 5, 2016 - 10:21am
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There are many ways desert dwellers might try to conserve water. Taking shorter showers, fixing leaky plumbing, or procrastinating laundry day.

The city of Scottsdale is offering an incentive to residents who completely remove a major source of water - their pool.

“Pools use a lot of water. It is very, very hot here in the desert. And when we have days like the last couple of days that are so hot and so dry, water evaporates very quickly,” said Nicole Sherbert, spokesperson for the city of Scottsdale’s water department.

Sherbert said as an incentive to residents to just get rid of that water, the city will give $.50 per square foot of pool or spa that is removed.

The city’s been giving rebates for turf removal since the 90s. And Sherbert said in the past ten years, they’ve removed 1.7 million square feet of turf in Scottsdale.

The question remains whether removing your pool is worth it. It’s a process that can cost upwards of $10,000, not to mention costs of landscaping afterward. 

The city is offering up to $1500 for pool removals. As of Friday, Sherbert said they have received two applications since the program launched two months ago, but the idea isn’t to remove all pools in the area.

“If you find you are using your pool often then absolutely, pools are a great way to cool off in the summer here in Scottsdale,” she said. “But for those families who really find that they aren’t using their pool anymore, or that it is in need of very expensive repairs that you’re just not sure are worth investing in, this rebate program is a great way to incentivize people to look at different options for that.”

Warren Tenney is with Arizona Municipal Water Users Association. That’s a non-profit focused on water issues in the state. He said Scottsdale is the first Arizona city to try a pool removal rebate. It’s a bit of an experiment, but he said it’s the right time to try it.

“In the Phoenix area pools are very popular, but there’s starting to be a trend where a number of folks are recognizing that there is a lot of maintenance involved with them,” Tenney said.

He said the number of new homes being built with pools has also taken a dip. 

If you’re not wanting to dive into the pool removal process, Tenney said keeping up with routine maintenance and covering your pool in the winter is the best way to conserve water and evaporate a little of your water bill too.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was updated to reflect new applications filed to the pool removal program.

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