Pond Filling

Pond 08 IMG_4446.

The Friends of Kew Pond are looking for volunteers to help occasionally with the monthly pond filling.

Many local people do not realise that Kew Pond is filled every month, via a tunnel and valve system which connects the pond to the river. Between fills, depending on rainfall, the pond level drops by about six to eight inches, due to evaporation and cracks in the concrete lining.

Filling is timed around the Thames tides, requiring a tide that is sufficiently high to reach the pond, without being so high that the opened valve would cause flooding in surrounding streets. It is a three-step process, managed entirely by local volunteers, which involves going down to the river bed at low tide to open the sluice flap; opening two valves (using long winches) at the pond at high tide, waiting for it to fill and then closing them; and finally, the next day, going down to the river bed again at low tide to close the sluice.

Due to council health and safety requirements, each step needs three people, and, being driven by the tides, the times are irregular and often midweek and in the middle of the day. Opening and closing the sluice takes about 15 minutes and requires wellies, while filling the pond takes about 30-40 minutes, but is not messy. The Friends send an email each month to a list of volunteers, asking who is available to help, and then arrange a rota. Please email friendsofkewpond@hotmail.com if you think you may be able to help us sometimes.