City Cast

Shortage of Houston Public Pools Open This Summer

Brooke Lewis
Posted on August 7
There's a shortage of public pools open this summer. (Getty Images/Oleg Breslavtsev)

There's a shortage of public pools open this summer. (Getty Images/Oleg Breslavtsev)

Since this heatwave isn’t going away anytime soon, you might be looking for a city pool to access. However, since the pandemic, the city has been unable to open all pools because of a lifeguard shortage, according to a story I first read in the Houston Landing newsletter. Here’s more on what’s happening.

How Many Pools Are Open?

  • The city has managed to open 23 pools this summer, but that’s still only 60% of total public pools.
  • Half the pools are open on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The other half are open on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
  • Here’s a full list of which pools are open and which ones are closed.

Why Can’t More Pools Open Up?

  • Houston hired 130 new lifeguards this summer, but it still wasn’t enough for them to open up all pools across the city.
  • The Houston Parks department said they looked at past demand for each pool and also tried to open the same number of pools in each city council district.
  • However, the median household income where pools remain open is 22% higher than ones where they remain closed. Neighborhoods where pools remain closed are also populated with more residents of color.

What’s Next?

  • Perhaps, Houston will look to Austin as an example. The city managed to hire more than 1,000 lifeguards this summer.
  • Austin’s pay rate is higher than Houston’s. They also hire lifeguards starting at age 15, which makes up over 30 to 40% of their staff. Houston’s starting age for lifeguards is 16.

What do you think of the lifeguard shortage? Is your pool open in your neighborhood? Email me.

If you're looking for something to fun to do as the summer winds down, we've got you covered. [City Cast Houston 🎧]

Hey Houston

Want to know what's happening in Houston? Sign up for our free newsletter, Hey Houston. Packed with local news, curated event recs, local life hacks, and more, it's your daily toolkit for getting the most out of the city you love.

Houston, Explained

See All

The latest in Houston