Water usage is top of mind for many water feature designs these days, and rightly so. We must be mindful of all that we can do to contribute to the sustainable design of new projects, and in turn, our beautiful planet. Water consumption needs to be a consideration within all plans and designs. We have steps that we follow as we collaborate with our clients during their design process, or as our in-house team of architects and designers create their designs, and we thought that you could incorporate the same steps as you design your next project.
What’s important about these tips is that all of these considerations should be considered during the early stages of your project, ideally during the concept or schematic phases. The earlier the better!
Conserving water design tips:
- Nozzle selection and height of spray can impact the amount of water used.
The higher or more aerated the water effect, the more water is consumed via evaporative loss. While the visual impact of the tall jet is impressive, the smaller purple ones are better for water conservation.
- Plan for the depth of the pool or water basin, or if a deck level splash pad could work.
There can be more evaporative loss in a shallow pool compared to a deeper one, and even less with a deck-level splash pad feature. Shallow water warms and evaporates faster so the deeper the pool of water, the better.
- Consider the type, placement, and size of your water feature.
Large amounts of open water that have heavy exposure to sunlight and relative heat can increase evaporative loss. Natural cover from trees or man made from a structure, can be both beautiful and functional.
- Minimize water drawn from the usual water supply.
By using an alternative source of water–depending on local codes compliances of course. For example, many buildings in warmer US states create significant amounts of air conditioning condensate, and the water formed by condensation can be easily used in a water feature when designed to be incorporated into these plans and drawings.
- Design a water feature for a site’s relative wind conditions.
As you can see in this video, the difference in wind speed means that onlookers do not get wet, but also that splash outside of the intended catchment zone leads to water loss. Keeping water within the basin, by adjusting the height of the jet, reduces water loss. You can see in this WATERlab simulation why we do these mock-ups before plans are finalized.
All too often we see these considerations missed early in the design process, which is when the greatest sustainable impact can happen. In an ideal situation, knowing the options—there are many, can meet the goal of water sustainability as well as help keep a water feature in the project. Not to mention have you stand out from the other proposals, so that the job is yours.