Can You Fill a Pool with a Fire Hydrant? Is It Legal? 

Your pool is officially open for another season, but it’s also running low on water. You hate using the garden hose to refill the pool, as it takes forever to get the water levels right. Can’t you use something more efficient such as a fire hydrant? 

You can technically fill a pool with a fire hydrant but doing so likely illegal. It’s also dangerous, as the water that gushes out of the hydrant comes out at a high rate of pressure and flow, with water flowing at a rate of around 500 gallons per minute. 

We hope this article will change your mind if you’re still thinking about filling your swimming pool with a fire hydrant. We’ll discuss the risks of filling your pool this way and recommend some smarter, more legal options instead.

Why You Shouldn’t Fill Your Pool with a Fire Hydrant

Let’s dive right in and review why you shouldn’t use a fire hydrant to fill your swimming pool. 

It’s Not as Convenient as You Think

Unless you have a fire hydrant right outside your property, the convenience factor of using a hydrant to fill your pool vanishes.

Even if you were adjacent to a hydrant like that, your pool isn’t in the front yard but in the backyard. How will you get water from the fire hydrant in your front yard to your pool in the back?

In a bucket? You’ll realize in just a few paragraphs why that won’t work. 

Whatever water you miss with your water collection method will flow all over the street, potentially saturating your yard with water and likely leaking onto the neighbors’ properties as well.

To say you won’t be the most popular neighbor on the street feels like a tremendous understatement! 

If you don’t have a fire hydrant in front of your house but up the block, you’re only increasing the risk of the water going anywhere but your swimming pool.

That’s not even to mention that you’re wasting a lot of water like this. 

It’s Illegal

If you’re still not totally convinced, let us make it completely clear that your proposed activity is illegal. 

Your city or town doesn’t have fire hydrants for the average civilian to use. Rather, the hydrants are there for the fire department. 

So technically, when you use the water supply for something as extraneous as filling your pool, you’re stealing water. 

That’s not a crime to take lightly! In California, for instance, you’re charged with a misdemeanor for water theft. You could have to pay a $1,000 fine and spend up to a year in county jail!

Do you still think it’s worth it to use a fire hydrant to fill your swimming pool? 

It’s Dangerous

You’re also putting your health and wellbeing at risk when you steal water from a fire hydrant. 

The water that comes out of the hydrant moves incredibly fast. As we mentioned in the intro, the flow rate starts as low as 500 gallons per minute through 1,500 gpm. 

If you have 100 feet of hose line, 500 gpm of water will flow at a rate of 15.5 pounds per square inch of pressure. The rate of pressure increases as the gpm does. 

Have you ever been blasted by 15.5 PSI of pressure? It doesn’t sound like much until you’re hit with it unexpectedly. 

You could end up quite hurt trying to fill your swimming pool this way! 

It’s Difficult

The distance between your home and the nearest fire hydrant notwithstanding, do you know how difficult it is to open a fire hydrant? Especially if you use whatever tools you want rather than the proper ones for the job?

Here’s another question. Do you know how hard it is to close a fire hydrant? 

Not only could you find yourself stressing and straining to open a hydrant if you decide to do it yourself, but you risk damaging the fire hydrant by using the incorrect tools. 

The next time the fire department needs to use that water for its intended purpose–putting out fires–they might not be able to due to your tinkering. 

Is Fire Hydrant Water Even Clean?

Another question may linger in your mind as you begin pondering your options for filling a swimming pool. 

How clean is fire hydrant water, anyway?

Very clean, actually! Fire hydrants connect to the same water distribution center that produces the water from your taps. If you feel comfortable drinking or bathing in that water, then you’d feel the same with fire hydrant water.

Please don’t take that as an incentive to use the water illegally! It isn’t! 

What Is the Best Way to Fill a Pool with Water?

If the garden hose method leaves you staring at the clock, wondering when your pool will finally fill, that’s far from your only option. To dissuade you from illegally using a fire hydrant, try these faster methods instead.

Ask the Fire Department

Here’s the thing about firefighters – we’re usually happy to help if you only ask us! 

We can’t guarantee that your fire department will offer this service, but some will come to your home and distribute water from a fire hydrant into your pool. 

It’s just like what you wanted to do, except it’s done properly and legally. 

We recommend contacting your fire department by phone and requesting the service. The earlier in the pool season you can ask, the likelier will get a positive response. 

If enough homeowners ask for this service, the fire department will have no choice but to turn you down. Remember, the water in the hydrants isn’t there for your pool but for putting out fires, so there’s only so much to go around.

You’re also likelier to get refused if your area has recently experienced many fires.    

Hire a Water Delivery Service

If your fire department said no, don’t despair. You can also look into a water delivery service.

Here’s how it works. The pool delivery service will transport enough water via truck (or several trucks) to fill your entire swimming pool. They’ll back up the truck, dump the water in, and voila, your pool is full.


Filling a pool with a fire hydrant is illegal. You’re taking away water that the fire department needs to combat fires, and you could end up damaging the fire hydrant in the interim.

This summer, avoid the fines and the misdemeanor charges. Contact your fire department to see if they can commandeer the fire hydrant instead. If not, use a water delivery service or a good, old-fashioned gardening hose.