Re: Pond safety
From: Lynn Nadeau (
Date: Fri, 7 Nov 2003 14:40:15 -0700 (MST)
We originally had planned for a pond at RoseWind, but for several reasons 
have never done it. I do remember, though, the discussions related to 
safety. A young child can drown in two inches of water. 

I had never heard the idea someone posted about a grate just below the 
surface, but that could potentially help. Of course the level of a pond 
is likely to rise and fall with precipitation or lack thereof, so I'm not 
sure how you'd manage to keep a grate from being neither above water, nor 
so far below the surface that it wouldn't do its job. 

If a child were to drown, or slip and be injured, I think a pond 
reachable by children would constitute what in legal parlance is called 
an "attractive nuisance", with liability implied. Most important is that 
nobody get hurt. But if you do come up with something you think is safe 
enough, absolutely get your insurance company on board! 

If you want a genuine living pond, this involves building up a whole food 
chain, which takes patience and some expertise. Around here, it's quite 
hard to keep any fish in a pond, as the local herons (and maybe raccoons) 
think the pond is a sushi bar. A visit by a pair of mallards will also 
clean a small pond of almost all fauna. If your pond is not running 
water, you may also have to contend with mosquito breeding. Too bad you 
can just call in the ducks when they are needed.

If we were doing it now, I'd consider different sorts of water features. 
A fountain or waterfall that "sheets" over rocks or concrete or 
sculptures offers the water sounds, and something to watch and touch. 
Probably birds would come and use it to drink and bathe, as well. In 
freezing weather, it can be turned off. All this without anything anyone 
could drown in. On our new common  house patio, enclosed by a stucco 
wall, we hope to have some water features, but just little ones. 

Lynn Nadeau, RoseWind Cohousing
Port Townsend Washington (Victorian seaport, music, art, nature) (very active peace movement here- see our 
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