Is this a pond leak or water evaporation?

As the temperatures spike to 95 this week, we often get questions about potential pond leaks.

If you have a skimming pump chamber, the water level should be kept at the second to the top screw head on the skimmer faceplate  so the pump does not empty out the skimmer filter faster than replacement water enters through the skimmer filter opening. Below is a picture of a skimmer with the ideal water level marked in red.



It is normal to lose 2-3″ of water in a week from evaporation.

Garden ponds from 500 to 2500 gallons and larger usually only require small weekly watering.  Refill water is less than normally required to nourish regular lawn grasses. If you feel your evaporation is unusually high, make sure you do not have any waterfall or stream leaks from someone stepping too hard on the edge of the liner and creating a trickle water loss. Also check your waterfall box to ensure plant growth has not blocked the flow of the water.

When evaluating a water leak, use the skimmer faceplate to determine actual water loss.  Again it is normal to have to put the hose in the pond once a week to refill for evaporation.  There are automatic water fills available if you prefer not to do this weekly refill.

If you pond water loss seems above the 2–3″ water loss in a week, you may have a pond leak.  Any pond is subject to losing water from small leaks around the water falls and stream. Such leaks are unlikely, but are easily fixed. As you plant the area around your pond, and especially around your falls and stream, be careful not to step directly with all your weight, onto the edge of the liner. If the liner along the water’s edge is lower than the water level, water can trickle out and lower the overall pond level fairly quickly. One way to find this during dry weather, is too look or feel for wet ground or mulch around the pond or falls edges. If you find a wet spot, and confirm a low liner level, it is very easy to simply raise the liner edge slightly with dirt, pebbles or a small rock. The liner can be again hidden from view by re-covering with mulch or another rock. Most leaks occur around the falls and stream, and one way to narrow your search is to shut off the pump, and see if the water level stays high. If the water level only drops when the water falls is running, you can be pretty sure the leak is limited to around the water falls or stream.  Sometimes children or dogs playing around the falls will depress the liner, creating a temporary leak. If you’re too busy to locate the leak, it is OK to shut down the pump for a while (unless it is warm and you have big fish), until you can reposition the low liner.  Also check the waterfall box since plants  in the box can dam up the waterfall and divert the water out of the back of the box.  This is easily remedied by thinning the plants in the box.

Until next time,

Happy Ponding:)