Thinking About Adding a Pond to Your Property?

Is there water on the property? That’s a question I hear constantly from people who are looking for their dream “farm” of their own. And I’m often asked by clients if I think they should consider adding a pond to their property. The answer to that question depends on a variety of things and will not be the same for each person or property.

Some land owners want a pond for fishing or attracting wildlife while others look to a pond for irrigating crops or a garden or watering livestock. The planned use for the pond will also be a guide for the size of the pond needed, which in turn will be a factor in the overall expense of building a pond.

But let’s not get the cart before the horse. Before you decide to build a pond, you have to determine if your property is suited for a pond—the composition of the soil and underlying strata, as well as the general condition of the terrain for impounding water. Your local Extension Office and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Office are both great resources for determining your soil composition. And of course, you can always hire a private engineering firm that specializes in pond construction.

Speaking of cost, many people want to try to save money when constructing a pond and attempt any and all shortcuts to lower their cost. That’s probably not the best idea. It’s more important to get the job done right the first time and have the pond actually hold water and be safe, sound and in full compliance with the law that governs pond construction.

I ran across some great questions that you should consider before deciding to build a pond:

  1. Why do you want a pond? Knowing the major uses of a pond will help with the planning of construction and cost.
  2. Where do you want to build it? You may think you have the perfect location picked out, but after checking with local agencies, including obtaining any permits that might be necessary, you may find out that it’s not the perfect location after all.
  3. And speaking of permits, do you know all of the regulatory issues involved with pond construction? Your local Extension Office and NRCS are two good places to start to answer this question.
  4. Will your pond have an inlet or an outlet? This can impact maintenance of your pond.
  5. Do you have a water source for your pond? Wet areas or a wet season stream may exist on your property and if so, that might be the area you should considering for your pond site.
  6. What land use is going on around your area? If you have a large cattle or dairy operation or other land use that is upslope from your pond site, this could impact the quality of water in your pond.
  7. Do you want to swim in the water? If so, this could alter the construction plan of the pond.
  8. Will your pond constitute a nuisance hazard? Give your insurance agent a call to determine if adding a pond to your property will increase your liability rates.
  9. What is your budget? Cost can range from $2,000 to $25,000 at a minimum – and is impacted by site preparation and location, as well as the size and depth of the pond.



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