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Water Wise Water Features

A water feature can add a wonderful focal point to any garden or landscape and encourages birds and insects. However, water features can also use and lose a lot of water. Use this guide to ensure your water feature is Water Wise.

Water features the Water Wise way

  • Aim for minimum size, with maximum effect and limited open pans of water.
  • Plant water plants that cover the water surface area and reduce evaporation.
  • Aim to locate water features in the shade to limit evaporation.
  • Design/adjust to ensure that no splashing occurs.
  • Swamp type plants cope well with filtering household waste water for example Typha capensis (Bulrush).
  • When constructing a pond, use solid surface construction material, for example cement or glass fibre in preference to clay or soil that allows water to infiltrate through it, causing a water loss.


Tips to ensure your water feature does not waste water:

  • Fountains with a fine spray or high pressure waterfalls lose a lot of water due to evaporation. Choose fountains with coarse droplets that help reduce atomisation, thereby reducing evaporation.
  • Check the level of your pond daily to see if it drops dramatically, and if so check for leaks.
  • If your water feature is placed in an area of high wind, this will increase evaporation.
  • Check old ponds manufactured of concrete regularly for cracks and leaks.
  • Plant water plants that cover the water surface area and reduce evaporation.
  • Place one water feature strategically in a focal area to get the greatest effect rather than several scattered around the garden.
  • Avoid water features that require a continuous supply of  new water. Aim rather for self-contained, re-circulating  water. For example, avoid the dripping tap type feature that drains into the landscape.
  • Dark pigment colours on the inside of water features cause temperatures to rise and encourage evaporation.
Remember that a Water Wise water feature is one where the  water falls into a pool below that is 1.5 m wider than the  height of the fall of the water. This will prevent water from  being splashed out of the collecting pool. Also, install a timer  into your water feature so that it only operates when necessary. The sound of soft rippling water is much more calming and  relaxing than that of a high gusher.


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