Ponds add a sense of tranquility to the surrounding landscape, which we all love.
It can be upsetting to notice that yours is losing water, particularly if it was just constructed. Naturally, you’ll wonder, “Why is my pond losing water?”
Ponds water levels dropping is a common occurrence, with usually one of six major causes being the root of the problem. Read on to learn more about them!
Let’s show you how to identify and resolve the six most common reasons for ponds losing water:
Evaporation is the leading cause of pond water levels dropping. The rate at which your pond will lose water due to evaporation will vary greatly depending on two factors.
The first is your local weather conditions. More specifically, expect increased evaporation during strong winds, low humidity, and high temperatures.
In contrast, evaporation levels fall in locations with clouds, high humidity, rain, and low temperatures.
The second factor is the size of the pond, or more precisely, the water’s surface area. The bigger the surface area of your pond, the greater the possibility of water evaporation.
Generally speaking, ponds lose 1 to 3 inches of water per week due to evaporation.
That being said, you’ll need to know your local evaporation rate, which you can find at meteorological stations.
That’s to calculate how much water your pond should be losing as a result of evaporation.
Later on, these calculations will help you keep track of when your pond is losing water normally and when it isn’t.
Since evaporation occurs naturally, there isn’t quite an effective solution. If possible, you can provide some shade for the pond.
If not, you can replenish the pond’s water whenever you notice it has lost a significant amount to evaporation. It would be ideal to top it off with rainwater if you have rain barrels.
If you’re going to use tap water, do so in small amounts and at different times. Tap water contains chlorine, which is harmful to the beneficial bacteria and the fish in the pond.
In case you must add all of the water at once, use a de-chlorinator to neutralize the chlorine and make the water safe for the pond’s ecosystem.
Seepage is another natural cause of water loss in ponds. This happens when water flows from the pond into the soil structure. This could also happen if your pond is constructed on porous bedrock.
If your pond is new, it’s completely normal for it to lose a considerable amount of water after its initial fill due to seepage.
You see, when the pond is filled for the first time, the water penetrates the porous layers of the soil.
Then, over time, organic material begins to accumulate at the pond’s bottom, sealing the soil’s pores. Gradually, the seepage decreases to about 1 inch of water lost per month.
In fact, losing up to 2 inches of water per month will still be considered safe. However, this will vary from case to case, so make sure you calculate your pond’s normal seepage rate.
If your pond is losing water because of seepage, you can seal it from the ground. There are two effective methods for doing so:
Purchasing a pond liner would be an excellent way to seal your pond. They’re mostly made of durable plastic or vinyl.
Choose a high-quality one that is thick and impermeable to ensure that it’ll function as intended.
Bentonite clay works by plugging the pores or leaks in the pond. Simply put, when this type of clay gets wet, it expands and fills any gaps in the bottom of the pond.
Before using it, look up how much would be appropriate for your pond’s size and how often it should be reapplied. On a side note, bentonite isn’t harmful to fish.
Water features can cause ponds to lose water, so keep an eye on them if you have any.
Assuming you’ve installed a fountain, the splashes may be directed outside of the pond.
Similarly, if a waterfall has incorrect rock placement, a portion of the water stream may be diverted.
Not to mention that water emerging from water features is more volatile, making it more prone to evaporation and being carried away by the wind.
Therefore, monitor the water feature for any splashes or streams that are channeled away from the pond. You can also look around the pond for any damp spots that could indicate this.
Fortunately, rerouting water back into the pond is pretty straightforward.
If you have a standard fountain, check the head to see if you can adjust the openings that direct splashes far away. You can even contact a handyman to help you out with that.
For the waterfalls, simply block the diverted stream with another rock. Lastly, on windy days, you can turn off the water features to minimize water loss.
It’s possible that your pond’s low margin is what’s allowing water to escape. That occurs frequently in new ponds after they’ve settled, where a low edge may develop.
What’s more, if your pond has a liner, it may slide down, leaving no support at the pond’s edges.
As a result, if you have a pond with an irregular frame, the low part will almost certainly start spilling water outside.
Besides, if your pond is surrounded by porous rocks, they’ll start to absorb the water now that there’s no barrier.
A pond with low or unsupported edges is easy to spot because of the following signs:
- Water puddles nearby
- Constantly moist grass
- Muddy spots
There are several techniques for leveling the edge of your pond. If you’re a DIYer at heart, we think you’d enjoy adding concrete blocks to the pond’s low margins.
Yet, if you want a quick fix, there’s another way to go about it. To level the low spot, simply pull the liner back to the edges then pile some soil beneath it, and that should do the trick!
The water may have leaked due to a problem with a structural component of the pond. Here are the three most important things to look for:
- Cracks in the pipework
- Clogged filter
- Loose bottom drain
If the pipework was built a long time ago or with cheap materials, it may develop cracks. Inspect the pipe fittings as well to ensure they are securely fastened.
If you don’t clean the pond’s filter frequently, it can easily become clogged, reducing water flow.
Not all ponds have bottom drains, but if yours does, you should check its condition. To do so, drain the pond and then add some water to the bottom drain to see if it leaks.
Any pipework or drain problems can only be solved by replacing them; patching the problem will only provide a temporary solution.
If you discover that your pond’s filter is clogged, take it outside and give it a good wash.
Just keep in mind that this filter contains a lot of beneficial bacteria for your pond, and hosing it will remove most of them.
Thus, it’ll be great if you seed it with bacteria before returning it to the pond.
The last culprit on our list for water dropping in your pond is a rip in the liner. To test this, simply unplug all of the pond’s equipment and check the water level the next day.
If it was significantly lower, this could indicate a liner leak. To locate the rip, first, scan the water surface for air bubbles that can indicate where the water is escaping.
If there aren’t any, pour some milk into the pond, sometimes around the edges, sometimes in the center.
Then, observe if it’s being drawn to a specific location, as this will be the location of the damage.
The type and extent of the damage will determine how to repair a rip in the liner. If it’s a sturdy liner with only one or two rips, you should be able to patch it up easily.
However, if the liner is of poor quality, it’ll be necessary to replace it as it’ll most likely tear again.
Fortunately, the answer to the question “Why is my pond losing water?” isn’t always due to serious structural damage.
That said, it’s essential to perform regular checks on the pump and filter to ensure that everything is in working order.
We hope we made it easier for you to pinpoint the source of your pond’s problem and best of luck in resolving it!
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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