Let’s take a careful look at pond leaks – without the hassle of actually having one. 🙂
Your water is going down and you suspect a leak somewhere in your system. Here are the things to do.
I note this is one of the most frustrating things in the water garden. And, you will read a great many “tips” online about how to find a leak in your pond. My suggestion is to follow these steps rigorously. They are simple to do and will produce results if you do them in the order suggested.
Fill up the pond to a predetermined level and mark that level in some manner. This marking gives us a reference point that we don’t have to depend on memory to sort out.
Watch this level and measure it daily. If you’re dropping water understand several things:
1) The most obvious (and normal) dropping of water comes from evaporation. It is not unusual for a pond to drop an inch a day in hot summer weather. This is the most common cause of pond leaks (if you call leaking to the sky a pond leak) 🙂
2) The second most common problem is around the water falls. Sometimes there’s a back splash that occurs because of rock shift (which is why most of the major rocks should be foamed into place) and water splashes out. Over 24 hours, this can become a significant amount of water.
You’ve decided it isn’t evaporation. So walk around the pond carefully poking the soil – with your hand or finger – on the outside of the pond. You’re looking for damp sections.
Check around the filter and biofilter carefully and pay particular attention to the waterfalls and stream section of the pond if you have one.
Fix it if you find it.
If you can’t find anything
Fill up the pond. Mark the water level carefully. Turn off the pump. Wait to see what happens.
If the water loss slows down or stops, you likely have a leak in your plumbing system somewhere.
Again, check around the waterfalls and any fittings/joints in the filtration system you might have missed. You want this to be the problem area because the alternative is that some freezing/thawing or loose fitting has created a leak in your buried piping and this will have to be excavated.
If the water loss continues, then let it keep going until it stops.
This is the level of your leak. (we hope it’s not on the bottom) Water will continue to leak until the leaking point is above the water surface. This is pretty much the only way to identify a leak in the liner. At this point, you have to carefully examine every bit of the liner at the water surface to find the leaking section/puncture.
Two Biggest Sources of Pond Leaks
Remember – the biggest cause of water loss or apparent leaking is evaporation. This creates more of a water drop than most people expect.
And the second biggest cause of pond leaks is splashing or loose fittings around the waterfalls and filter systems.