Supplement Feature - January 2022
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Calmer Waters

The 2022 Aquatic Trends Report

By Emily Tipping

Comparing the operating expenditures of facilities that feature only indoor or only outdoor swimming pools, the data shows a substantial increase from 2019 to 2020 for those with indoor-only pools, while those whose facilities only include outdoor swimming pools reported a slight decrease, From 2019 to 2020, respondents with indoor swimming pools reported an increase of 35.7%, from $280,000 to $380,000. In that same time frame, those with outdoor pools reported a decrease of 9.1%, from $220,000 to $200,000. (See Figure 9.)

Looking forward, those with indoor pools projected a 7.9% increase in their average annual operating expenditures from 2020 to 2022, from $380,000 to $410,000. For those with outdoor pools, a 15% increase from $200,000 to $230,000 was projected.

Some 12.5% of survey respondents reported that they had built a new aquatic facility in the past three years, down from 13.2% in 2020 and 14% in 2019. Respondents from rec centers, Ys and schools were the only facility types to see a growth in the number of respondents reporting that they had built new facilities. Rec centers were the most likely to have built new facilities, with 18.2% indicating they had done so (up from 16.7% in 2020). They were followed by Ys (17.5%, up from 10.8%), parks (14.7%, down from 17.8%), and schools (13.6%, up from 9.7%). (See Figure 10.)

Pool closures continued to be rare among respondents. In 2021, 3% of all aquatic respondents said they had permanently closed a pool without building a replacement, down from 3.4% in 2020. The number who replaced a swimming pool with a splash pad remained stable, falling slightly from 1.1% in 2020 to 1% in 2021. (See Figure 11.)

Respondents from camps and Ys were the most likely to report that they had permanently closed an aquatic facility over the past three years. Some 5.1% of camp respondents and 4.9% of Y respondents said they had done so. Respondents from rec centers were the most likely to indicate that they had replaced a swimming pool with a splash pad, with 4.5% indicating they had taken this action. They were followed by camp respondents, 2.6% of whom had replaced a swimming pool with a splash pad over the past three years.