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Pool feasibility with intermittent water?

 
Posts: 37
Location: Colorado, ~5700', Zone 5b, ~11" ann. precip
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Hello David,
I am interested in hearing your thoughts on the feasibility of building a natural pool where the water level is highly variable. Could it work if the pool had no/little water for 3 months out of the year, or if not, why?
Also, your thoughts on pond liners vs. compacted clay soil "liner"...do you have experience with sealing ponds naturally, and how do you go about it?

Welcome to Permies and thanks so much for your time!
 
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Posts: 31
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Hi Lisa,
thank you for the welcome to Permies - I like it here.
I build my pools with pond liners. It is a bitter pill to swallow, but I figure building a pond, is probably one of the better uses of plastic. A pond made with a liner is not fed from the ground water so the ground water level is not a determining factor. (A pond or Natural Swimming Pool is best filled with rainwater.) If such a pool was allowed to run dry, the liner plastic would photodegrade in the sunlight. Also a clay lined pool would crack - although I have attempted, I have so far failed to line a pool with natural materials.
 
Lisa Niermann
Posts: 37
Location: Colorado, ~5700', Zone 5b, ~11" ann. precip
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Thank you for your response!
So, you are saying these types of ponds work best in a climate with plenty of rainfall...probably not the 11" we get in a year!
We have irrigation 6-7 months out of the year and were considering filling a pond with that, but could you tell me why rainfall is better or more desirable?
Any advice for those who live in a drier climate? Or is the dream of a natural pond out of reach for us?
 
David Pagan Butler
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Hi Lisa,

If a pool is filled with water containing lots of nutrients then problems with algae can occur.
Rainwater is usually the best quality water available as is contains very few nutrients. However, a lot of pools are filled with tap water and are usually fine. It just depends on the quality of water you have available. If it is drawn from ground water that contains leachates from agricultural fertilizers then that is a recipe for algae. (Most ponds in our countryside are polluted like this nowadays). If the water is drawn from a deep well then that may well be fine - it's all down to the water quality.
 
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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our natural pond would go dry when we had summer droughts, but we dug it much much deeper and now it gets low but never completely goes dry . A shallow pond will easily evaporate during a drought,but the deeper the less evaporation..also your water table will be closer to the deep pond levels so you may never go completely dry
 
Lisa Niermann
Posts: 37
Location: Colorado, ~5700', Zone 5b, ~11" ann. precip
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Yes, we had figured that the pond needs to be deep...a neighbor down the road dug a very shallow pond just this spring, and it is just a big tub of algae. Their pond is filled with irrigation water, thus probably confirming what David said about fertilizers. (We do live in an agricultural area.) There also is no convection within the water because I imagine the water temperature is uniform. So, now I am convinced there are fertilizers in the water...it got me thinking about how to possibly filter it before it gets into the pond. I wonder if the irrigation water could be filtered sufficiently with a grey water-type filtration reed bed, possibly supplemented with a fungal or mycorrhizal straw bale remediation system a la Paul Stamets; then sent on to the pond?
 
pollinator
Posts: 2387
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
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Lisa Niermann wrote:Yes, we had figured that the pond needs to be deep...a neighbor down the road dug a very shallow pond just this spring, and it is just a big tub of algae. Their pond is filled with irrigation water, thus probably confirming what David said about fertilizers. (We do live in an agricultural area.) There also is no convection within the water because I imagine the water temperature is uniform. So, now I am convinced there are fertilizers in the water...it got me thinking about how to possibly filter it before it gets into the pond. I wonder if the irrigation water could be filtered sufficiently with a grey water-type filtration reed bed, possibly supplemented with a fungal or mycorrhizal straw bale remediation system a la Paul Stamets; then sent on to the pond?



I'm just wondering if you ever built your pond.
 
Lisa Niermann
Posts: 37
Location: Colorado, ~5700', Zone 5b, ~11" ann. precip
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Elle,
No, not yet, unfortunately! We have had some other, more pressing improvements to make. But it is still on "the List"! We are racking up barter points with a friend who has a backhoe, by letting him graze his cattle on our land in the spring and fall. When we get it done I will try to remember to post pictures.
 
steward
Posts: 5266
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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Around here, many ponds are ephemeral. They persist during rainy weather, and dry up during dry weather. Many types of plants and animals are adapted to that kind of availability.
 
elle sagenev
pollinator
Posts: 2387
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
Around here, many ponds are ephemeral. They persist during rainy weather, and dry up during dry weather. Many types of plants and animals are adapted to that kind of availability.



That would make a terrible swimming pool in our climate though. lol
 
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