Why is my pond losing water?

Why is my pond leaking / losing water?


Normal water loss

Remember that ponds naturally lose water through evaporation. Water loss is increased by strong plant growth. Think about how much summer watering is required for container grown plants in the garden - your pond plants are using lots of water too. Fountains and waterfalls lose water from evaporation too. In warm summer, and windy dry weather, a 25mm to 50mm (1 to 2 inch) loss of water from a pond each week is not unusual. The base pool of a series of ponds will show up the water loss from all of the higher pools too, and its level will fall even more rapidly in warm weather.

Check fountain sprays

Fine fountain jets do increase water loss greatly, even moreso if any of the spray is falling outside the pool. Turn the flow down, change to a different pattern of jet, or restrict use with a timer if it is causing problems.

Check water loss at the pool edge

If the liner edge has fallen at one point, water will seep out. Loss over the edge is common in areas with lots of folds; where plants are growing over the pool edge; and where sections of protective felt lie over the edge (capillary action / wicking). You may need to raise the liner at such points and trim back felt or plants. ©

Turn off the waterfall and see if that helps

Water can find its way out of streams and waterfalls in unexpected places. Turn off the waterfall for a week or so to see if that makes a difference. If this reduces the leak, then the waterfall/stream is likely to need closer examination. (If you need to keep filter boxes at the head of the waterfall running correctly, you will have to bypass the waterfall with a wide bore pipe.) www.watergardensolutions.co.uk

Check pipes and filters

If a filter is clogged, or sunk off the level, or been damaged by frost, or a seal has breached, it may be seeping water. Check hoses and pipes, in case joints have shifted. The return pipe over the pond edge should slope down to the pond otherwise water may run back along the outside of the pipe. Some thinner types of corrugated hose can become brittle and snap with age, check sections routed outside the pond for damage.

Still losing water?

If the pond is still dropping even when waterfalls are turned off – let the level settle. As long as the ground water level is lower than any puncture, the pool should level off at the point where the leak is. Even a hole the size of grain of rice can result in a noticeable loss, so you might need to look very closely. It is possible to patch minor damage in most types of liner though this becomes more difficult on aged liners, and is less successful on certain types of plastic. Concrete ponds can be difficult to repair successfully, and might need lining with an internal flexible liner.

If fish are in less than 30cm (1 foot) of water you should net over to protect them from birds and cats. If the water drops much lower you will need to move the fish to temporary quarters to allow the pool to be repaired. If you are topping up in the meantime, use a tap water conditioner to remove harmful chlorine.


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