Swimming pools can be a wonderful asset in the Valley of the Sun. A quick glance at the Phoenix MLS system this morning reveals that 39.7% of all actively listed Maricopa County single-family homes have private swimming pools. That’s a lot of places to cool off in the summer.

But if you are not an active user of your pool, maintenance, repair and utility costs can turn the asset into a liability. By some estimates, normal maintenance and operation on a typical in-ground swimming pool can run over $2,000 annually.

In order to mitigate these expenses, demolition and backfilling of swimming pools is an option for an increasing number of Valley residents.

Homeowners may choose to fill in a pool for a variety of reasons:

  • older pool in need of expensive repairs
  • safety of toddlers or young children living in home
  • don’t want the maintenance
  • lack of use
  • desire to trim electric utility bill and conserve water
  • lower homeowner’s insurance policy premiums
  • need to expand home addition into small back yard
  • reduce liability when home is unattended or seasonally vacant

The city of Scottsdale has developed a rebate program as an incentive to homeowners to fill in pools that are no longer in use. It is the first of its kind in Arizona and possibly in the nation. Compared to the total cost of removing an average-sized pool ($3,500 to $7,000+), the size of the rebate is small. However, it may provide the boost to move some homeowners off of the fence.

Scottsdale is offering $.50 per square foot of surface area (not cubic volume) up to a maximum of $1,500. The municipality will require pre- and post- property inspections to confirm that the home is eligible for the rebate program and that the project is completed according to the program guidelines. Homeowners must receive water service from Scottsdale Water in order to qualify and the final, graded surface must not be bare dirt. A 2″ crushed granite rock surface is recommended over the project site. Applicants have 6 months to complete their pool closure from the date of the pre-inspection.

An electrical permit is required when disconnecting pool pumps and pool equipment for the rebate program.

The rebate does not come in the form of a check, but instead as a credit on the utility bill of the city-owned water utility. For specifics on the Scottsdale swimming pool removal and filling rebate program, click here and select the “single-family residential” tab or call the City of Scottsdale at 480-312-5650.

The program took effect July 1, 2016.

The city of Scottsdale also offers rebates to homeowners for the removal of natural grass turf, water softeners, and spas. The rebates for turf and spas are also calculated at $.50 per square foot.

If you remove your in-ground pool or spa, check with the local tax assessor about a lowered property tax assessed valuation. Contact your homeowner’s insurance agent about the pool closure and ask for a reduced rate.

Not ready to remove your pool, but want to control pool water evaporation? Consider a solar blanket cover for your pool which can slow water loss and lower your water bill. Solar covers are available for less than $150. A floating pool cover will also make it easy to keep out airborne debris.


People say to me, ‘You’re so lucky. You get to see the world.’ But I don’t. I go to the hotel and to the pools and back again. That’s it. – Michael Phelps, American competitive swimmer, 23-time Olympic gold medalist, most decorated Olympian in history, ASU swim coach, and Paradise Valley resident