Why are the North Pools Drained?

Aerial view of Pacific Science Center arches

If you have visited Pacific Science Center (PacSci) recently, you may have noticed that the North Pools in the courtyard are drained, while the South Pools are still full of water. If you caught yourself wondering why, you’ve come to the right place!

The North Pools are currently drained due to worsening leaks, which have led to flooding in certain areas on PacSci’s campus.

As you may already know, a feasibility study conducted by Schemata Workshop in 2022 revealed that PacSci’s courtyard is experiencing critical failures and operational challenges. Continued risks include pipes bursting, pumps failing, increasing leakage, and deteriorating water quality due to corroded pipes. In recent months, the situation has steadily worsened.

PacSci has also recently discovered records of leaks from 1963 – just one year after construction of the courtyard and its pools.

Built in 1962 to hold the temporary U.S. Science Exhibit during the World’s Fair, the courtyard pools have been losing a whopping 26 million gallons of clean, drinking water every year due to active leaks and evaporation; that’s an average of 71,000 gallons of potable water every single day.

PacSci has been diligently conducting maintenance on the pools over the years with the resources available. Throughout the decades, PacSci has replaced sealants, pumps, and pipes; repaired drains; installed new equipment; conducted routine cleanings and maintenance; and more. PacSci is exploring long-term solutions to gain water independence and environmental sustainability, and in the meantime, is considering interim solutions for the drained pool to make the space more engaging for our guests. Any changes made will be reversible.