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Pond loosing water

I have a client which we built a large waterfall in the garden for but have had a lot of problems with it loosing water. The warerall is built on three tiers with a header pond aprox 2mx2m x 900mm deep then it runs down about 5 meters x 2 meters, over a waterfall into the next pond which is approx 3m x 1.2m x 500mm deep it then runs down a short run of about 2m x 800mm then over the last fall into the bottom pond which is about 3mx1.2mx500mm deep where it gets pumped back up to the very top again. the liner we have used is the firestone rubber whch is pretty bomb proof and have tested the pipe etc We have spend a serious amount of time  adjusting etc to reduce the water loss to no avail. Is seems to loose a lot more water when its running as opposed to it being still. it is loosing about 2 inches a day approx  but some days more especially in this hot weather. In my opinion the main loss is down to evaperation due to the sheer area of the structure but whe client is having none of that and wants me to put it right at my expense. I have spent approx 2.5 k going back and forward tweeking the thing already and deffinately cant afford to spend any more time or money on it! Any suggestions??? Many thanks.

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  • PRO

    I would start by calculating a reasonable range of evaporation amounts for your set-up and compare to the amount actually being lost.

    I found this calculator - it's in imperial, but should be easy enough to work through.

    If it's close, then it's evaporation, if not, then there's a leak. If evaporation, the calculator would be a usefull tool to take the customer through to convince them of that case.

    How Much Water Does A Pond Lose To Evaporation?
    How much water does a pond lose to evaporation? Is your pond losing water?  Is it evaporation or do you have a leak?  The process below will help you…
  • I'm not an expert, but I notice that the waterfalls and header pond have an area that exceeds the surface area of the lower pond by around 5/1. So lets say the whole surface area is around 22 sq.m and lost 10mm a day through evapouration - about normal at this time of year. As your measurement is taken from an area of only 3.6sq m., a 50mm water loss measured from this small area would seem a normal evapouration rate.


    • when the pump is switched off dos one pond drop more than the others

      is water getting splashed out on the waterfalls 

      could it be when the pump is switched off the water runs into the bottom pond and overflows 

      water leakage on ponds is a difficult one to solve 

  • Hi Andrew - water features! To establish whether you have a leak in the 3 ponds, choose a cloudy day, fill them up and turn the pump off for 24 hours. There should be no evaporation, so any reduction in water levels will suggest a leak. It's difficult to work out if the streams are losing. Evaporation can be quite high this time of year, so your customer needs to allow for the cost of this. Good luck and keep us informed.

    Best wishes


  • Another factor to take into account here is loss due to wind - there are a couple of good size waterfalls here which means on a windy day, or even just a breezy day with gusts, quite a bit of the water could be thrown out of the system.   Depends on how sheltered the area is of course, and  I'm not sure how you would calculate this, but its definitely something to mention to the client, it will make a difference.

  • I have used UV dye - you can get it for detecting leaks. Good way to track where water is going.

    It's a good idea, where possible, to fit an autofill that keeps the pond topped up.

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