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Pool Policy Making Waves With Durham Property Owners

Posted January 11, 2008

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— The drought and a dwindling water supply are causing a wave in Durham for property owners who want pools and for some businesses that build them.

"We have to take what some people would consider to be severe action," Durham City Councilman Eugene Brown said.

Until late Friday afternoon, Durham city leaders would not issue permits for new pools, saying it was something the city could not afford to do.

After WRAL started making phone calls, city leaders then announced that pools could be built, but could not be filled with water from any source – whether from within or outside the city or county.

Durham's initial policy of not issuing permits had some owners of pool businesses upset. Tara Onthank owns Rising Sun Pools and Spas. She considered suing the city for stopping her company from building pools.

"You can't restrict fair trade on an industry just because the end product holds water," she said earlier Friday.

Onthank said pools lose about 50 gallons of water from evaporation each month. She had questioned why the city would not allow them to build pools and bring in the water from another source.

City leaders said pools are continually refilled and there's no way for them to check every time where the water comes from.

"We're quite miffed," Onthank said. "It's a misunderstood industry. People hear 'pool.' The end product holds water. They assume you're going to be using water."


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  • dwntwnboy Jan 13, 2008

    "we are moving to Cary or Morrisville where they don't have a shortage"...yes, they do. They get their water from the same sources as all the other towns around here. EVERYONE is in a water shortage. Not filling pools until this has calmed down a bit is a smart move. A pool holds thousands and thousands of gallons of water, and when there are only a few days of the supply left, it's silly to even thing about trying to fill a pool from local supplies. Having it trucked in is one thing, but then again, in the summer you are still using 50+ gallons a month to top it off from evaporation, splash out etc.

  • Deb1003 Jan 13, 2008

    Perhaps the pool will be filled with pudding? LOL

  • oldrebel Jan 13, 2008

    Good job on the headline for this story. I marvel at the imagination of the editors...and I mean that sincerely. Good headlines cause people to stop and have more of an inclination to read the actual story.

  • carlostheass Jan 12, 2008

    "whateleseis new, dont bash cary for having MORE water and that aquatic center was BUILT BEFORE THE DROUGHT." -- wilowdream

    Ummm, no it wasn't.

  • alanvankirk Jan 12, 2008

    Boy oh boy what a mess. I bailed out of RDU area, Not enough schools, roads or water. Moved to the family to Phoenix, yes the desert. We have a drought here as well, only 5 inches of rain last year. But they plan on growth here. We are remodeling our pool and adding a waterfall. No problem using the sprinkler and drip watering systems. Low flow toilets and showers have been required here for years. When will the city county and state start providing the needed services, and planing ahead?

  • 1Moms_View Jan 12, 2008

    "It's a misunderstood industry. People hear 'pool.' The end product holds water. They assume you're going to be using water."

    Well, why didn't she tell me that before! Here I've been using water to fill my pool all these years!

  • dianadarling Jan 12, 2008

    Also, stop issuing building permits immediately! How many gallons will the average new household use when it hooks up??

  • dianadarling Jan 12, 2008

    The list of lawsuits against the city mounts. I guess this one will have to get behind duke lacrosse and never be heard!

  • The ORIGINAL ladybug Jan 12, 2008

    "It's a misunderstood industry. People hear 'pool.' The end product holds water. They assume you're going to be using water."

    Ummmmm Duh? What else would you do with a pool?

  • Rocknhorse Jan 12, 2008

    Not allowed to fill it even if the water comes from a different source. ???? That is one of the most idiotic things I've heard yet, in regards to this "drought" and I've heard plenty of idiotic things. If a person is willing to pay to have water brought in from an outside location, that can only help locally via evaporation.

    We run a powerwashing business - commercial and historic preservation/restoration cleaning. We have a contract with a large institution to do some cleaning prior to some necessary masonry repair. We were put on hold b/c of the water restrictions. We looked into hauling water in a tanker truck, proposed that (at our expense even) and were still told no 'b/c of public perception.' If we are bringing that water in, where do you think water goes after we clean a building? Back into the ground, which makes its way back into the supply. We offered to bring water in and they still say no?