Green Building Archive


When Life Hands You Lemons, Dig a Pond

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

There’s a lake down the road they’re poisoning with chemicals to kill weeds. There’s an ocean down the coast they’re poisoning to drill for oil. Hey, where’s a kid supposed to swim? Get thee to a pond my friend, preferably your very own waterhole so you can keep out anybody with a drill or a jug of algaecide.

The worse things get for the watery commons, the sadder I feel, and the more determined to turn people on to one of the few solutions you can make on your own. Dig a pond, or buy a place with one, and then take good care of it. Got lemons? Make lemonade pond.

In addition to providing toxic free recreation, your pond can do a bunch of other good stuff. How about a pond for renewable geothermal heating and cooling? It’s being done with ponds as the ground temperature source, or to take advantage of heat pump well discharge. One Quebecer I know put a fire hydrant in his discharge capture pond, and got an insurance break in the bargain.

Ponds can be used to power micro hydro turbines. They can be used in conjunction with wind pumps to irrigate off-grid gardens, orchards, and farmland; and to water livestock. (Wind pumps can also improve off-grid pond water quality with aeration compressors.) You can even grow some fish or waterfowl; might come in handy down The Road.

A bunch of scientists just discovered that man made ponds do such a good job of slowing down watershed runoff, they offset part of the ocean water level rise due to climate change. Your pond saves the world.