It was a true dilemma. The exceptional drought in this part of Texas had pushed my pool a little too far. The cycles of wet and dry over the years had caused the ground to settle such that the pool's plaster skin had cracked.
Now, the cracks had been there for a few years, but there had been no noticeable water loss before. This year, with water rationing ratcheting up, I was having to add water to the pool frequently just to keep it at a level for the water pump to function. No water circulation and the pool would go to pea soup green in no time flat. I've had it happen before.
So we called the pool leak specialists. Austech Pools advertising sounded good, so although it seemed expensive (don't mind me, everything seems expensive), we called them in. Arriving with hydrophones and all kinds of cool gear, they quickly determined that no, it wasn't a pipe leak. Those cracks had just gotten wider and were the main cause of my water loss. I winced a little when they gave me a repair quote, but I'd either pay it in water bills, or run up against rationing limits or something else, so I had them come back.
Well, yesterday, they drained the pool. Today was the day for the repair. Superficially, it looked simple. He took a routing tool and dug into the cracks to make them wider. Then he filled them in with an epoxy substance and smoothed it over.
We chatted the whole time about science fiction, philosophy and the like, so it was and interesting morning. In the end, the cracks were patched and now I wait for several days for the sealant to properly cure before refilling the pool. The birds, the honeybees, the squirrels and I will all appreciate it when the water is back.