If you’ve never owned a swimming pool, the prospect of filling it with water for the first time can be intimidating. Most of us have been trained from a young age not to run up the water bill by taking long showers or letting faucets run. Based on this conditioning, you might expect to pay a terrible price for using 15,000 or more gallons of water in one shot.
But on the contrary, the cost of filling up a swimming pool with water is generally pretty cheap – at least in comparison to what you’re paying for installation. While you might hear about people spending hundreds of dollars for pool water delivery, most new pool owners can simply fill ‘er up with a garden hose (or two). Your next water bill might be a record high for your household, but if the water rates in your neck of the woods are anywhere near the national average, it’s not going to break the bank.
But before you let the water flow, you should make a couple of calls to make sure you’re doing the right thing. First, talk to your pool builder to make sure there aren’t any issues with gradually filling your pool over many hours. Second, place a call to your water company to get an accurate idea of what you will pay – since they get a lot of inquiries like this, they may even quote you a bottom-line figure based on your pool’s size.
Do the Math
If you’re already in the process of building a pool, you likely know how many gallons of water it will hold. Otherwise, you can use one of the many pool volume calculators on the internet to find out. Geometric pools are relatively easy to calculate, while freeform pools are a bit more complicated. However, in all cases the volume is based on the surface measurements of your pool along with its average depth.
Most swimming pools fall in the range of 15-30,000 gallons (though many pools fall outside that range). That might seem like a lot of water, but it’s probably not that much more than what you’re already using every month. According to the EPA, the average family of four can use 400 gallons of water per day, or 12,000 gallons per month.
It varies a lot from place to place, but the average price of water in the U.S. in 2009 was just $2 per 1000 gallons. The average has undoubtedly risen a lot since then and is probably higher where you live, but the fact remains that most people who can afford a pool can easily afford the cost of filling it with municipal water.
Bulk Water Delivery
Having said all that, there are some advantages to having your pool water hauled in. The most obvious one is convenience. You don’t have to babysit a garden hose for hours until the pool is topped off, and you get to use your new pool sooner. Your pool builder may even be able to arrange everything for you, making it a completely “hands off” task.
More importantly, if you’re on well water, filling from your household supply may not even be an option. You could run out of water before the pool gets filled, or leave your family without water for days.
Finally, paying to have your water delivered makes more sense in some areas than others. It’s doubtful that it would ever be cheaper than filling from your water supply. However, if you live somewhere where the cost of water is very high, then the additional cost to have a truck bring it in might seem minor. Especially since it likely buys you at least one extra day enjoying your new swimming pool.