When Patrick Gannon’s seldom-used swimming pool sprang a leak last summer, he considered draining and repairing it. Leaking pools can waste a lot of water—an inch-a-day leak in a 15-by-30-foot pool can waste 102,000 gallons per year. But as Patrick notes, pools that are in poor repair or little-used also represent an “opportunity for conservation.” In his case, the thought of using 10,000 gallons of drinking water to refill the pool—in the middle of a drought, no less—just didn’t make sense.
At the same time, he recognized that an empty pool accumulating leaves and other debris is an eyesore. The final straw came one morning when he found a skunk sleeping in the deep end. In a moment of inspiration, he decided to repurpose the pool into an outdoor art exhibit.
Along with his sons, Patrick, a psychologist and oil painter, transformed the plaster surface of the pool into a three-dimensional canvas. The project turned out to be a great way to, as Patrick says, “kill three birds with one stone”: Save water, fulfill a long-term goal to paint an outdoor mural, and explore the California drought and the broader issue of global climate change through the medium of art. The title of the piece, “397 + Rising,” references the amount of carbon in the atmosphere in parts per million, a key measurement of climate change.
The mural depicts how we are dependent on the earth, and how the choices we make about water and energy shape the future of our planet. For Patrick, “flipping” a private pool from a “symbol of water extravagance” to a “message of water conservation” was a choice that “seemed timely in both a personal and planetary way.”
Are you an MMWD customer with a conservation success story to share? Tell us in the comments below, or email us and we may share your story on our blog.
| 397 + Rising by Patrick Gannon
Photo by Mary Anne FitzPatrick