Aren’t pools too much of a luxury?

Summer’s here and the temps are high! Pools seem like such an inviting option to beat the heat!

From a decade ago to now, the number of pools has exploded. Literally every apartment complex has a pool these days. And most of these pools are good-sized ones having the capacity to hold lots of water. This is Bangalore and we know that Bangalore is facing a terrible water shortage. That being the case, can we really afford to have so many pools? I personally know people who are facing acute water shortage. Even their bore wells are spewing sand instead of water. Only goes to show how our water tables are drying. Cauvery water supply is erratic and very minimal. That being the case, when there is just about enough water for our day-today needs, is it fair that we have so many pools these days? Developers know that by adding a pool to their plans, they can charge hefty amounts from future home owners. Most of the apartment complexes also suck the water from the water table, thereby drying up all other small scale bore wells in their immediate surroundings!

Many of the western countries can afford to have as many pools as they want, for now. The density of their population is nowhere near ours. They do not face water shortage like us. Is it enough to just ape the luxuries of the west? I agree that pool is a wonderful feature in a community. My kids love the pool and have a fun time in it, but souldn’t somebody be thinking about the consequences? Shouldn’t the plan approving officials be wary of the number of pools that are mushrooming? Shouldn’t we be saving water? What do you think?

Adding a couple more points (From my own comments below)
I am not actually blaming the people that are using the pools, instead I am questioning the city planning, and the approval of pools even before they come into existence. Yes, people want pools, and yes, developers want to make money off of that want. But, doesn’t the city have to plan, especially when water shortage is not such a new thing? The reason I am NOT blaming the people living in the apartment buildings is because they have very little do with the lack of the city officials’ foresight. I was trying to bring attention to the planning or the lack thereof. I am not asking people to make sure that their entire neighborhood has enough water too just becuase they have a pool.

Thanks TARALESUBBA for the news link.

12 Comments so far

  1. Mytri (unregistered) on April 1st, 2007 @ 7:42 pm

    Unfortunately, these are difficult questions. So many people have air-conditioning units. Do we really have that kind of energy to throw away? So at some point we have to start looking at usage and see how to make availability the issue.

    Why do we need 2 vehicles in so many households? Can we afford that luxury as a society? Why has not the city responded with mass transportation?

    Population of Bangalore is incredible. I mean somebody told me that a house in Koramangala was on sale for 2.2 crores! Can you even begin to imagine using crores in daily usage JUST 10 years ago :-).

    Sorry Tarle. I have no opinion either way. When I have to get up early to fill the tank then I am upset but otherwise I think of the lakhs and lakhs that are pouring into the city coffers due to taxes and how we are hampered by our own beauracracy, then who do we blame?

  2. Mytri (unregistered) on April 1st, 2007 @ 7:44 pm

    My apologies to Tarle and Chitra good article but with really not much input from average person.

  3. silkboard (unregistered) on April 1st, 2007 @ 8:52 pm

    Chitra, fixing supply side of the situation is the right way to fix problems. But not thinking that way is an Indian mindset. Adjust first, develop/grow later – that is how we have all been tuned to think.

    Not to say that your thoughts aren’t noble here, but just wanted to point this out!

  4. Chitra (unregistered) on April 1st, 2007 @ 9:59 pm

    Mytri, I agree with you on all counts, and all of those issues bug me as well. Unfortunately, the water issue is staring at our face right now. Though I am not facing the issue myself, I see so many people buying tanks of water on an almost regular basis. I really meant about the pools for this summer. It just doesn’t seem fair. What triggered this post was my maid telling me how they didn’t have water for an entire week, and she had to wash all her clothes today when there was some water supply. Such things kind of make me feel terrible. Otherwise, they have to resort to stealing from the neighbors bore well, etc. It is not just the poor people’s issue. Even the regular residential areas around here are in deep trouble because of lack of water. The water tanks are the ones clogging the streets these days! I am not in any way saying that we do not have other issues, but the water thing is definitely bugging me these days as you can see from my couple of posts on the topic.

    Silkboard, I am not sure I understand what you meant. The thing is I do not have much say in the matters of supply from the government’s side, because you cannot do much about that. When I see regular people having to buy tanks of water for at least 10 times a month, and then I see beautiful pools of water almost everywhere, it just didn’t seem right.

  5. Deepa Mohan (unregistered) on April 1st, 2007 @ 11:49 pm

    Let me speak as someone who has a pool in her apartment building. Yes, indeed we are sensible about the fact that so many others are going without water. We all got together and discussed the issue. But we realized two facts: one, that owners have shelled out a lot of money particularly because the promoters of the flat advertised a pool, and they do not see why they should now forgo it, especially when they are paying for the water supply and not getting it free; and two, that emptying out our pool is no solution, as we would only be wasting the water. What we have decided to do this year is, not have the annual cleanup until the monsoon has set in and, hopefully, the water problem has eased, and ensure that the water is recycled and chlorinated and cleaned…and used very carefully. In this regard, we are certainly more responsible than some of the 5 star hotels which routinely drain their pools and refill them. Also, we did not drain our borewell for the swimming pool; it came from the paid Cauvery supply, and will last us through the year, hopefully.

    Yes, indeed we are aware of the privilege we have while much of Bangalore is reeling. If there was some way we could divert the water in our pool for others to use, we would; but it is not feasible. The pool drainage system was built before we had anything like this crisis. All the drained water will do now is, hopefully, recharge the water table in our location; that is done annually.

    All of us residents allow our maids to wash/bathe in our apartments, when they want to. And we are very careful how our cars are cleaned, too. Residents are constantly reminded to use water carefully in their flats, and rectify leaks immediately.

  6. Chitra (unregistered) on April 2nd, 2007 @ 7:58 am

    Deepa, it is wonderful that as owners you are all as conscientious. The intention of the post was also to just plant a seed of conscience in the reader’s mind. In fact the term ‘pool’ itself is fairly figurative. A western toilet with a flush can easily be addressed in the same way too, since each act of flush uses so much more water.

    I am not actually blaming the people that are using the pool, instead I am questioning about the city planning, and the approvals of such building plans even before these pools come into existence. Yes, people want pools, and yes, developers want to make money off of that want. But, doesn’t the city have to plan, especially when water shortage is not such a new thing? The reason I am NOT blaming the people living in the apartment buildings is because they have very little do with the lack of the city officials’ foresight. I was trying to bring attention to the planning or the lack thereof.

    We live in a building with a pool, but as tenants. When we move into our home that will have a pool access too, I am hoping to help with the conscious use of the water there.

  7. Simi (unregistered) on April 2nd, 2007 @ 10:06 am

    This is what I’ve got to say. On the face of it, yours was a nice point. But to think in the same line, we’ve hundreds of kids who are either under-nurished or starving in Bangalore. In the same city, we can see kids who are hefty and heavy because they are over-fed sometimes risking their good health. If those who overfeed their kids / those who waste their food (just walk in to any good restaurant during noon to see yourself what I mean) were more sensitive to the soceity we live, how many of the less privileged would be happier and perhaps live longer! But the blunt fact is we (includes me too) aren’t as sensitive to our sorroundings (read soceity) as we could be. Perhaps of the attitude, “I earn, I spend”? – I don’t know. However, personally I feel, we should work at the root level of supply to tackle this issue. Making people more senstive is ideal but I (personally) have no hope on it. After all, that’s what we infer from the history of mankind.

  8. Chitra (unregistered) on April 2nd, 2007 @ 10:14 am

    Simi, that is what I was trying to say too. I am not asking people to make sure that their entire neighborhood has enoug water too just becuase they have a pool. All I am trying to say is the city planning needs more thought before sanctioning plans with pools or must make sure we have enough water to see us all through summer.

    I think I will update the post a bit …

  9. saaya (unregistered) on April 2nd, 2007 @ 10:39 am

    hummm….Nice thought !! but from another POV; if one is putting in so much hard work and 12 hours per day to earn that money ; and if I can afford and enjoy a bit of luxury ; isn’t that ok ? I absoutely understand it comes with the responsibility !!

  10. abhipraya (unregistered) on April 2nd, 2007 @ 4:28 pm

    Recently, I had a young friend visit me from TN (where water is perennial issue) and we took him around Blr and to meet some of our other friends. His comment “There’s no drinking water for us and here you have swimming pools and fountains everywhere”

    What can I say? Even in the apartment we are staying we spent quiet a bit of money to build a rather silly looking fountain (cos it enhances the value of the place I was told) but very often we get mails to conserve water!

    Meanwhile when I suggested to set up a rain water harvesting system (costing a lot less than the fountain) I was told “none of the residents would like to spend that much money on it”

    This logic beats me completely!

  11. Rajesh (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2007 @ 1:07 pm


    Fully agree that we all need to save water and set priorities of it’s use responsiblely.

    Unfortunate to the fact that this ‘being responsible’ feeling is relative to one’s own belief and affordablility that causes the concern.

    There is scarecity of water in the city, still most of the bangalore has a very good ground water thus we are able to survive, but not enough.

    I feel bad when I shell out lot of money buying tanker water and see someone in my lane washing his car with water tube spelling it on the gound everyday…

    Perhaps it’s time that rainwater harvesting should be made compulsory to all new constructions and public structures…I know that singapore used all it’s flyovers to collect the rain water and they have separate rain storms collcting it in large tansk which water the city gardens…

  12. Raghunath (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 6:15 pm

    I sympathize with all the people facing water scarcity. But I feel more for people with municipal water connection than people with borewell.
    It is just for a simple reason that the borewell owner never thought about the water table until the hand pump dried off.
    Rain water harvesting methods and benefits are known for a long time, but nobody acts on it.
    Why is there a need for the government to step in and make this compulsory? Can’t we act ourselves and harvest the rain water?
    The harvested water can be used to water gardens, clean vehicles, and above all improve the water table.

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