“We are faced with an aging and energy-intensive heritage”, explains France Urbaine, an association which brings together metropolises and large cities in France. And the 4,000 public swimming pools are mostly heated by gas. An expensive gas that could be scarcer this winter.
The swimming pools have already taken the full brunt of the closures due to Covid, with a loss of 200,000 euros on average per equipment, notes the association. So to contain the note, the announcements follow one another. In Échirolles (Isère) since the beginning of July, the water temperature has risen from 27 to 25 degrees outside and from 27.5 to 26 inside. One degree less represents a saving of 7%, according to the city.
In the agglomeration of Montpellier, the swimming pools of Lansargues, Palavas-les-Flots, Mauguio and La Grande Motte will have to “close one day a week” in order to “deal with the increase in energy prices”, said know the agglomeration.
– watch out for baby swimmers –
In Paris, which has around forty pools for the general public and ten school pools, “we want to do everything to avoid closures”, explains to AFP Pierre Rabadan deputy mayor for sport. Some swimming pools are currently closed due to energy renovation works. Better filter the water, change the lighting… a plan intended to save 30 to 35% energy.
In some communities, energy renovation projects fall through to pay the energy bill, also explains France Urbaine.
Lower the temperature? In Paris, Pierre Rabadan is not very hot. Where adults can tolerate cooler water, the question arises for children or baby swimmers. “We had done it once and we had backtracked because of the schoolchildren,” he explains.
Varying according to the seasons is perhaps more possible. “We are on a single trend of 27 degrees, end point whether it is two degrees outside or 30 degrees, we can perhaps go more finely”, he asks.
If the idea is to “hold on without having to reduce the hourly amplitudes”, everything depends on the turn that the bill – which has not yet been assessed for 2022 – and the energy crisis will take.
For Vincent Saulnier, secretary general of the National Association of Sports Elected Officials (Andes), the issue of temperature and closures will be studied as part of the discussions on the sport component of the energy sobriety plan.
His association also called for a postponement of emptying obligations given the summer drought. Moreover, in some cities, swimming pools emptied at the beginning of summer cannot be filled due to the restriction of water use.
– “Essential equipment” –
This is the case in the city of Bourges (Cher) which is waiting to be able to refill its two swimming pools… For the moment, the mayor Yann Galut plans to leave the neighborhood swimming pool, “little frequented”, open only for schoolchildren and during the summer holidays, he explained to AFP. In the other pool, the temperature has already been lowered by 0.5 degrees.
“We can’t do anything with our swimming pools,” he explains, given the importance of learning to swim. “For the inhabitants, the swimming pool is an essential equipment”, he recalls.
No cold shower after exercise as in Hanover (Germany) in swimming pools, sports halls and gymnasiums for all users. According to an internal survey carried out by France Urbaine in 108 territories, 10% are considering total or partial closures this winter.
Beyond these short-term solutions, which serve both the wallet and the environment, we need “a Marshall plan with one billion euros over five years for the energy renovation of sports equipment”, pleads Vincent Saulnier.
And be careful, warns Pierre Rabadan, also assistant at the Olympic Games: “if to spend less energy you have to do less sport, I think we are wrong” then sedentary lifestyle affects adults and children.