Drought conscious couple in East Bay converts pool into rainwater-fed reservoir

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ByJonathan Bloom KGO logo
Friday, August 28, 2015
East Bay couple converts pool into rainwater-fed reservoir
An East Bay couple decided to do away with their backyard pool and convert it into a rainwater-fed reservoir for their future garden.

MORAGA, Calif. (KGO) -- With the drought pushing water prices sky high, owning a pool becomes a pricey proposition, whether or not you actually swim in it.

An East Bay couple decided enough was enough. The solution they found was anything but conventional.

Jeff and Kathleen Johnson say their home came with a mystery fruit tree and a sprawling backyard pool.

"My daughters and I thought it would be fabulous to have a pool," Kathlee Johnson said. "Now our girls are grown and on their own, and basically we don't use the pool at all anymore."

Use it or not, a pool is a lot of work.

"That would be almost a daily task, to get the leaves out," Jeff Johnson said.

The Johnsons decided to take the plunge and take it out.

"It's a really small backyard that was taken up by a large pool and now they have a lot more space to plant lots of green," said Julie Liener, a designer and special projects manager.

You'd almost think they forgot something the pool still has water flowing into it.

Landscaper Roxy Wolosenko had an idea to keep the yard lush and green while putting some green back in the Johnson's pockets.

"Why not try to store some rainwater in it? You've got the hole already dug," Wolosenko said.

In what was the deep end of the pool, there's now an underground reservoir made out of plastic blocks.

The blocks form a surface strong enough to drive a truck over it, but equally important is how much empty space there is in the middle, space enough to hold 7,500 gallons of water.

Rain captured from the roof will fill the tank, and water the new drought tolerant landscape on top of it.

"And that's where the veggie gardens are going to be," Kathleen Johnson said.

Kathleen Johnson's happy next year's harvest will have more than just mystery fruit.

To learn how much water your city is required to cut back, click here. For water rebate information from Bay Area water suppliers, click here. You'll find tips about how to conserve water here and information on how to to report water wasters #WhereYouLive, here.

For full coverage on the drought, click here.