Where Is Your Water Going? Identifying The Causes Of Backyard Pond Water Loss

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Backyard and garden ponds are a popular addition to homes all across America. They offer beauty with their displays of shimmering, splashing water and flowering aquatic plants. For the animal lover, a backyard pond can provide an opportunity to raise koi and create a welcoming habitat for frogs and other water-loving creatures. However, these beautiful havens can become a thorn in the side for homeowners if problems arise. A pond that is losing water at a fast rate is probably the most frustrating of all troubles because leaks are not often easy to find. But, by learning about where and how water can leave a backyard pond, you can learn how to locate leaks that might spring up.:


In most temperate climates across the United States, which covers much of the land east of the Rocky Mountains, normal water loss during summer can be an inch or more per week. The rate of evaporation is significantly higher in dry, desert climates where water loss can be around three inches per week. However, normal evaporation rates can be accelerated greatly by the presence of aeration devices such as fountains, waterfalls and bubblers. These features are often necessary for the sake of maintaining a healthy pond environment, and their aesthetic appeal is important, too. But, it's also important to be aware that the introduction of air into water creates more opportunity for evaporation to occur.


This is the process whereby plants draw moisture into their roots, pull it up through their stems, and then release it into the air. Aquatic plants that are rooted in your pond, even those inside a container, are capable of pulling a significant amount of water out of the pond.


This makes up the largest category of water loss causes, and the following are specific types of leaks that can affect backyard ponds:

Liner overflow

Most backyard ponds are constructed with some type of liner, which is usually either a hard shell plastic or flexible material liner. As a pond settles into the surrounding soil due to the tremendous weight of the water, it can push its liner deeper into the ground. If one side's surrounding soil is softer than the other, the settling will result in a "high" end and a "low" end of the pond. Liners that are pulled too far will permit the water level to rise above the liner edge; this results in an overflow that seeps into surrounding soil. A good indicator of a liner overflow is experiencing a rapid loss of water that suddenly stops at a certain point. This indicates the water is pouring out quickly until it gets below the liner edge.

Liner punctures

This is a classic liner leak where a stone, root, water feature, plumbing component or accident creates a hole in the liner. Identifying this leak can be difficult because it can mimic a liner overflow when the water level reaches the point of the leak, if it is on the side wall of the pond.

Plumbing and filter leaks

Pond plumbing that isn't properly installed or shifts within the ground can develop leaks, particularly at pipe joints. Filter systems can develop leaks inside the system itself, but also at junctions. You can suspect plumbing and filter leaks if air intrudes into your system; for example, a pump that spurts and gurgles is indicative of a leak admitting air into the plumbing.

Failure to contain water within features

Some water features are designed to allow water to flow through falls, rapids and other streams. These features are often complex in construction, and there is a strong possibility that water is escaping through an unknown outlet. Water feature leaks will continue until the pond is dry, so that often can eliminate other problems. The best way to check for a leaking feature is by turning off the water features in a backyard pond for at least 1 week. If there is no noticeable water loss during that time, then you can safely speculate that water is leaking from a feature.

If you need help finding and solve the source of your water loss, contact a local landscaping company, like Kona Land and Water Escapes.