This is a particularly potent bogeyman in water-starved Chennai. However, experts say you can easily avoid wastage if you adopt proper cleaning methods and keep your pool and algae free. "A little maintenance and safety measures are all that's needed," reiterates Sowmya. Her company promotes pools with recycling plants, an amenity that is quite easy to add on. And if you have nightmares about having to replace the entire water in the pool every few weeks, think again.
According to M.C.Simon, managing director, Clearwater Pools, "Water in a swimming pool can be used for over four years; it just needs topping up from time to time".
Nearly 90% of water loss in a pool occurs due to evaporation, so if you cover your pool, you can reduce this drastically. A pool cover also reduces the need for chemicals to keep it clean. "Only a little water is lost from spillage," says Shrutika, an IT professional who recently installed a pool for her kids, who splash around and wet the deck area. What Shrutika did was put in granite decks that last longer.
She also added a little metal fence to reduce spillage and a plastic roof to reduce evaporation and keep the pool cool. "The covered pool in our project not only reduces evaporation but also provides privacy to our home owners," says T. Raghunandana, Tangirala Infrastructure, who has just launched Ananta, a villa project in Thoraipakkam. And finally, when you clean your pool filters, empty the filter backwash on to your lawns or plants or even collect it for reuse. It's an excellent recycling method.
A few common-sense practices and a little loving care are all that's really required for a clean pool. As far as possible, keep a cover on the pool. Second, keep a leaf net handy and skim off the top of the pool now and then. Next, sweep the deck clean regularly. Besides this, you need to clean the filters regularly. In fact, by keeping the pool and filters clean you can significantly reduce the rate of backwashing.
Some pool filters do not require frequent backwashing, as it may affect their efficiency. "As a filter collects dirt, its efficiency increases, so it's important that you don't backwash your system too frequently or the filter will never reach its full potential," says Simon.
The commonest cleaning agent is chlorine, which is added to the water as granules that release chlorine into the pool continuously. You can also opt for salt water chlorination, where you add salt that turns into chlorine the minute it touches water. It's important to maintain the PH balance of the water. If imbalanced, it can lead to algae growth and if there is too much chemical, the water can get alkaline and cause rashes. "The ideal PH level for a pool is 7.2-7.4, as this doesn't affect the human skin and keeps the water sparkling clean," says Simon.
And finally, keep vegetation and animals far away from your pool. Bird droppings and animal waste helps algae to thrive and you definitely don't want pool scum.
One of the major hurdles to having a home pool has always been space. Shrinking floor spaces have meant that most people can't even dream of a pool at home. Welcome to counter-current swimming pools, also called smart pools. They work like treadmills and have a special motor in place that lets you swim against the current in a small space. This pool can be 10-15 feet in length but once you start swimming, it creates the illusion of an endless pool, much like how treadmills work. "We have installed smart pools in our villas," says Vummidi Ananth, managing director, BBCL Sandshore, "and they also have UV inoders to keep them fungus free." A pool right inside your home that allows you to do your 20 laps? Why not?