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When Water Goes Missing

Jim Bruner | Mezzacello Removing the irises from the pons and 1000L of water in a cube.

During the summer of the 2020 pandemic lockdown we thought we had a serious problem with the pond. We were unsure what to do when water goes missing. Every week around 1,000 L of water would mysteriously disappear.

Uneven Levels

We first noticed it when the water hyacinths would become stranded on the shallow end of the pond. We never observed the link to be any less than the top 40 cm of the pond. After that the ”leak” would stop.

When I first built the pond I designed a frame on the back that would support the weight of planter boxes that would submerge in the pond. These boxes would contain irises that added structure and lush green to the pond.

Identifying the ”Leak”

This 40 cm area was obviously where the leak was. So I carefully removed the irises and the boxes as well as the engineered steel supports that held them up.

after all the support boxes were removed, I carefully inspected the rubber of the pond liner. Curiously I found nothing. No tears no leaks nothing.

The Real Culprit Identified

So I refilled the pond back up to its top level to test my theory that there were no leaks. Pond held water for two weeks. Meanwhile I hand watered the irises.

The iris is required a lot of water! But the pond never changed its level again. That meant there was only one culprit.

It appears that iris is pull up a lot of water and transpire it into the atmosphere. The iris is for thick hundreds of plants and one box. That’s a lot of surface area for evaporation to occur.

I did some research and sure enough irises transpirate a lot of water. I did some quick figures and over three weeks those irises were pulling 1000 L of water out of the pond and putting it back into the atmosphere. It was great for the echo system around but terrible for my bottom line.

An Expensive Applied STEM Lesson

So for the three weeks that I was noticing this water leak in my pond I was refilling the pond with city water. City water I have to pay for. City water full of chlorine and my pH and hardness were off the charts.

with the irises removed we switched plant sources from irises to water hyacinth. On really hot days we still lose probably 20 to 30 L of water a day. But that’s tolerable.

Besides the water hyacinth plays an important role in the aquatic ecosystem. Unlike the irises which for just for show. The water lettuce and water hyacinth are incredibly useful.

Unlike the irises which for just for show. The water lettuce and water hyacinth are incredibly useful.

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