Excessive Pond Water Loss?

amclea01October 11, 2010

In early summer I had a pond dug, it is not spring fed, but is fed by runoff. The dimensions are 100'x50'x25' deep. The ground is mostly red clay with some shale and relatively no top soil. After being dug I wanted to be sure it appeared to hold water. I decided to just use the old garden hose and let it run for a few days bringing it to 5', then monitored and it seemed fine. Since then we have only had 2 rainfalls that have put out any measurable water. The last rainfall added about 3' of water, bringing my total to about 8' of depth, but it has been about a month since that rainfall and the water has retreated back to about 5', losing every bit of water I had gained in the last rain. Is this loss excessive? I have never had a pond before so I do not know what to expect. My neighbor dug a foundation for a new building on his property last week and did not get to any moisture until about 8' deep due to the drought conditions. Should I be worried at this point? There are no signs of leakage from the base of the dam.

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serenae(6)

I'm not sure if it is excessive. When you monitored it initially, did you approximate or measure exactly for any water loss?

In a pond that large, 3' seems like a lot, but evaporation could account for a lot. Also, do you have animals visiting it that drink from it?

A few months of drought could cause that much loss, but I'm no expert.

When you dug the pond, were the bottom and sides puddled (stamped repeatedly to get rid of any air pockets in the clay, and seal it better)?

    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 5:16AM
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amclea01

the bottom and sides were repeatedly compacted with a large loader, there is no evidence of the local cow population using the watering hole (although I would welcome their soil compacting.)

When I initially monitored the pond the water level was only a few feet, and I did not notice any measurable loss over a weeks period.

Since I have been monitoring the water level closely, it appears that I am losing around 1.25" per day on average. At first I though that evaporation could be the culprit, but the temp has dropped considerably and the loss rate seems to be the same.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 3:04AM
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jclimber(S Austin 8)

Here are two good links about evaporation in the US. In the 2nd link, there is a link to the annual evaporation data for the US (data is old, but probably is not much different than now).

http://www.dynsystem.com/netstorm/docs/NWS34EvapTables.pdf
http://www.grow.arizona.edu/Grow--GrowResources.php?ResourceId=208

    Bookmark   October 29, 2010 at 11:21PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

I would be looking to see if any of that rock you mentioned is poking through to the surface That can be a big problem. The hose is suspicious as well. It could easily have damaged the packed clay down to loose soil. Clay can absorb a huge amount of water.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 5:14PM
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