At this time of the year, I always envy people that own a swimming pool. What a way to beat the heat and to enjoy the company of family, friends and neighbors! But, as with anything good, there is always some upside and some downside. With pools, besides the biggie, most important thing of safety, the other downside is maintenance. And now, this year, is the added headache of water use, as we here in Tuolumne County that rely on water from Tuolumne Utilities District find ourselves caught in a sinister ‘regulatory draught’ dreamed up and implemented by the over reaching bureaucrats in Sacramento. Yes we had a pretty dry winter, but there is more than enough water in Pinecrest Lake to take care of everyone’s needs, but the State Department of Water Resources has imposed an unworkable and never before imagined minimum lake level that puts supposed recreation use over needed consumptive needs of the Tuolumne County residents even though no issue exists. So keeping your swimming pool filled with water this year is going to be more difficult and cost you more because of the phase 3 water conservation requirements that has just been enacted and due to the new rate increase. Proper maintenance of your swimming pool is always important, but will be more so this year as you will be doing so with a minimum of water. The first thing you want to do is check the water level in the pool each day. You should keep the water level at about 1/3 to 1/2 the height of your skimmer opening as filling the pool above that level may prevent debris from entering the skimmer and allowing the water to go below that level could allow air to enter the system, which could burn up the pump. If you find that you need to add water every day, it’s time to start thinking about a leak and looking for it. You very well may need to call a pool service company to locate the leak and repair it. Having a beautiful, sparkling clean and healthy pool is really not that difficult or that time taking. Daily chores besides checking the water level include ‘sweeping’ the pool with a long handled broom or running automatic pool sweep equipment. Cleaning out the skimmer baskets of debris and testing the pH and chlorine levels and adjusting the levels to the recommended levels specified by your pool manufacturer or installer. The pool filter should be run on a minimum long enough to cycle the water in the pool at least once. Once a week you will want to clean the pool filter, which may require back flushing it or removal of the filter element and actual washing it. Testing the pool water for total alkalinity (TA) and calcium hardness is also necessary. Finally, you need to ‘shock the pool’ by hyper chlorinating the water to kill any algae and clear it. Once the chlorine levels come back down to the proper level, the pool is ready for the next round of enjoyment by all. Have fun, but be safe!