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STEVE SEBELIUS: Busting the limits on pool size

One of the reasons people tend to vote against their economic interests is that they one day aspire to become members of a higher class, a richer class, when their voting will catch up with their bank account.

I felt that recently when the Southern Nevada Water Authority decided it was a good idea to limit the size of new swimming pools to just 600 square feet.

Now, I don’t have a pool. I don’t even have a yard big enough to build a pool.

But, someday, I’d like to have a pool.

A big pool.

Something the size of Lake Bellagio, only deeper. Lake Las Vegas, only bigger. A small sea.

I understand the reasons for the water authority’s concern. The bigger a pool’s surface area, the more evaporation of water. And evaporated water is water that’s lost to the Las Vegas Valley. The water authority estimates a 600-square-foot pool loses 29,160 gallons to evaporation every year. A 3,000-square-foot pool loses 145,800 gallons a year.

By contrast, the water we use indoors is recycled. We get credit for what we return toward our allocation of Colorado River water.

But evaporated water is gone for good.

I also understand we are in an exceptional super-magna-mega-hella-drought, which is a scientific term denoting that there’s not a lot of water. And it doesn’t look like those conditions are going to change, especially with less snowfall upriver and the NOMBFers (Not On My Beachfront) in California rejecting coastal desalination plants.

If things don’t change, we’ll all be shopping for secondhand ’droids to help us with the moisture farming equipment while we dream of getting off this rock to fight the evil Emperor Elon Musk in Tesla City on Mars.

But despite all that, I still want a big pool.

A lagoon. A mini-lake. Big enough so lunar gravity creates tides. Big enough so the U.S Coast Guard has to rent out part of my backyard for a duty station.

Big enough so the Navy can use it to train littoral combat sailors.

Six hundred square feet? That won’t even cover my hot tub! And don’t get me started about the waterfalls, lazy river and grottos.

For comparison’s sake, an Olympic-size swimming pool is about 164 feet long and 82 feet wide, with a surface area of approximately 13,454 square feet, which I call, “a good start”! Forget 600 square feet! I want 600 acre-feet!

I realize this is selfish. When we’re talking about the ability of Las Vegas (not to mention the other Colorado River states and Mexico) to obtain water for drinking, bathing and cooking, the idea of a massive backyard bay ranges from mildly offensive to outrageous. The fact that — in my future fantasy — I’d have enough money to afford a huge urban reservoir doesn’t change that.

In fact, the water authority’s chief spokesman, Bronson Mack, addressed that point directly, saying regardless of the size of a lot (and I’ll need a really big lot to accommodate my Tahoe-size pool) the rules would be the same. “Even if you have a really small lot or a very large lot size, the rules for your swimming pool would be the same across the board,” Mack said.

Damn socialists.

While the rational part of my brain says, in a desert with ever-dwindling water supplies, a giant lake is, in the words of Colby Pellegrino, deputy general director of resources for the authority, “a luxury we can’t afford.” I get it.

But I still want that pool! And I’m guessing I’m not alone, either. I’m thinking that there are plenty of other people who dream, someday, of making the resorts on the Strip blush with the opulence of their home haciendas.

Of course, the people who build pools are upset, saying the water authority didn’t take seriously their alternative plans — scaling the size of pools up depending on the size of the lot, with a per-square-foot fee that would go toward other conservation efforts.

But the water authority wouldn’t budge. They are protecting a scarce, limited resource that doesn’t look like it will be any more plentiful in the future, at least not until global warming melts all the glaciers and we end up living in “Waterworld.”

At least then, I won’t need a pool.

Contact Steve Sebelius at SSebelius@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0253. Follow @SteveSebelius on Twitter.

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