Keep the Splash In Your Pool: Is Your Pool Leaking?

April 24, 2018

Summer is almost here, the temperatures are heating up, and that means it’s almost swim season. So now is the time to get your pool in tip top shape, which includes determining if your pool is leaking. In our dry, Arizona desert climate, the typical swimming pool can evaporate its equivalent water volume in one year — up to 25,000 gallons of water. Along with evaporation, however, it’s also estimated that up to 30 percent of all pools have a leak, wasting lots of water unnecessarily. Since over half of pools have a fill valve (automatic pool refiller), leaks often go unnoticed. While leaks may occur due to problems like holes, tears or cracks in the liner, most leaks are a result of plumbing problems or improper seals around fittings.


To determine if your pool is leaking or if it’s just normal loss due to evaporation, use this neat trick.

  • First, turn off your automatic pool refiller if you have one.
  • Place a bucket of water on the top step of the pool and fill it with water to the pool’s water level. A large rock or brick will keep it in place.
  • Mark the water level inside the bucket.
  • Mark the pool water level on the outside of the bucket.
  • Wait two or three days. If the water level of the pool (outside mark) is lower than the bucket, there is probably a leak in the pool structure or plumbing system.

Check out this helpful video from our Water Partner, SRP:



Most cities do not allow for pool water to be drained into the street and storm drain. These eventually drain into washes and rivers.
Most cities do not allow pool water to be drained into the street and storm drain. These eventually drain into washes and rivers.

Sometimes, it is necessary to drain your pool. If so, you must drain your pool water into your yard or the sewer clean-out. Remember the motto, “Only rain in the storm drain.”

If your home or property does not have a sewer clean-out, you must drain it slowly enough so it remains in your yard. You MAY NOT drain your pool into the street, alley, or neighboring properties. You can, however, safely use pool water to irrigate salt-tolerant plants in your landscape like Bermuda grass, oleander, and natal plum.

Backwash water may contain chlorine, bromine, algaecides, biocides, water conditioners, stabilizers, and other chemicals. When these chemicals are deposited into the storm drains, they make their way to dry washes and stream beds and eventually end up in urban lakes and streams. And they are toxic to fish and other aquatic life. Backwashing and draining your pool the correct way can minimize the impact of pool backwash and prevent pollutants from entering our waterways.

More details on how to care for your pool can be found at these suggested links from the Water – Use It Wisely resources page:

Donna DiFrancesco is a conservation coordinator with the City of Mesa, one of 20  Water – Use It Wisely partners to offer water-saving advice and programs.