Now that you have selected and installed your natural pond’s liner, you are ready to add water. There are several possible water sources you can use for a natural pond. You may even choose to use a combination to keep your pond full and flourishing year-round. Here are the most popular sources of water for ponds, as well as the most important facts to know about each option.
While groundwater is often not sufficient as the only source of water for a natural pond, it can make a substantial contribution to ponds that are fed by additional sources like surface runoff. This means there will be a smaller drainage area needed. Groundwater is typically available in low-lying areas that have a high water table.
Springs occur where water seepages have enough volume to come above ground with a continuous flow. Natural ponds fed by springs may not require surface runoff to keep them full. As such, spring water will keep your pond clean, clear, and cold. However, using spring water to fill your pond may require a permit depending on your location. So, it is best to consult local authorities before choosing this route. Permits aside, spring water is one of the best sources of water for a pond due to its clarity.
While using water from a nearby stream might seem like a good idea at first, it is extremely difficult to get a permit for building any pond directly in a stream. However, a portion of streamflow can often be safely diverted to help fill your pond in an adjacent area.
Surface Runoff + Rainwater
Ponds that are filled by rainwater flowing into them generally don’t have any negative impact on streams or aquatic organisms. In places that lack ample summer rainfall, like much of the Western United States, ponds fed by surface runoff alone slowly dry up over the course of the season. Ponds filled exclusively by surface runoff are also prone to cloudiness due to the soil particles it contains.
Another popular option is well water. You can safely pump well water to fill your natural pond, but keep in mind that the electricity required to do so can be costly. Therefore, well water is most practical for small ponds or for topping off larger ponds during dry spells.