Schools Face Tough Choices Due to Leaky Swimming Pools

Money for repairs won't be available until next year, so a Southern CA school district decided to drain the pools as the state faces an historic drought

A Southern California school district faces tough choices as officials grapple with fixes for two swimming pools that are leaking thousands of gallons of water per day.

Pools built more than 50 years ago at Troy High School in Fullerton and nearby Sunny Hills High School were leaking about 10,000 gallons of water daily. That's enough for about 540 loads of laundry every day, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The district recently found out about the Troy High School leak, but learned about the leak at Sunny Hills High School in 2012 and won passage of a bond measure to pay for repairs. The estimated $4 million needed for the work won't be available until next summer.

"We have known about this for some time and we are currently in the process of getting bids to make the repairs on that pool," said Ken Stichter, interim superintendent for the Fullerton Joint Union School District.

With California in a fourth consecutive year of drought that prompted the state to order water-use cutbacks, school officials drained the pools. Both schools' swimming and water polo teams will need to practice elsewhere until repairs are complete.

"Maybe, right now, the swimming coach and the water polo coach and the teammates might be angry, but in the long run, we've got to think about the long run," said Troy High School senior Julie Lim.

More than 98 percent of California is under severe drought, according to this week's U.S. Drought Monitor report. Four dry years, including dismal snowpack levels in the Sierras where springtime runoff provides water for millions of Californians, prompted Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers to call for a 25-percent reduction in water use across the state.

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