Open well or pond?


I am planning for a open well, my land is having loose soil, people recommend to use the rings, but rings are quite expensive.  Can get the water in 15-20 ft depth, would it be ok to go for large pond instead of open well with rings?.

Earth excavator is already in my land doing the trenches ( boundary and fencing substitute), need to decide at the earliest.

At present instead of going in for 16 ft diameter well i am thinking of having 35 dia  pond type, even if the side wall collapse there would be some open well type structure inside.

Any suggestion welcome.

thanks and regards,

Namaskar !

Open Wells are mainly recommended for storage of water sufficient for irrigation.If you are sure to get sufficient water at 15 - 20 ft. then POND is the best option with all its 4 walls made sloppy and lined with stone pitching.


All nearby wells are not more than 14-17 fts, so i too should be getting water at the same level.  There is already one pond situated at the west part the land that ( land is elevated at the west) that has flowing water till February. Now the water level there has gone down, it cant flow, not sure how much would be the yield, have not pumped from there yet.

Economics are something like this.
Open well - 20 ft dept. 
1day of excavation work - 10K approx
18 rings of 16 ft dia - 108K

Pond - 40 ft dia 
2.5 days of excavation - 25 K
Stone pitching - ??

Based on all the above facts i am tending towards pond. 

Have no experience on creating ponds below ground.  All the ponds that i have seen (of this small scale) being constructed is on the ground catching the spring that flows from higher slopes of our Sahyadri mountains.

Need to use this pond for supplying water for around 12 acres and some live stocks.


  1. Do i consider bore well too?
  2. Would 40 ft dia be sufficient for the ponds  ( or should i call this extra wide openwell)
  3. Which shape is good for pond ? round , square, rectangle or any other and why?

Dear hegdegg,

Does you soil has the capacity to hold water? If Yes, please go for Pond.  If not, please go for well.

Pond Options

  1. Calculate the amount of water required for you for your land and plan accordingly the size of the pond.  If the land availability for the pond is not available completely, please consider increasing the depth of the pond rather than the size of the pond.
  2. You can have Fish Culture in the Pond which will be very profitable and the water from the pond can be utilized for growing vegetables and plants and is a good source of nutrients. This option is best suited if the pond is 1 to 1.5 metres of depth.

Padmanabhan Ganesan

Dear Hegde,
Better you do survey at your surrounding area with elderly farmers first. Based on all the  facts you can towards pond.

Pond - 40 ft dia with square is good for multipurpose uses of fish farming too.
Stone pitching requirement will depends on the soil strength. However if you construct rock wall with stairs. Than it will serve your for generation. Well shown in photo is in round shape.

More importantly you should find a place suiting for catching ground water too.
Better to have 2 to feed water for 12 acres during summer.
2nd pond can be next years based on 1st one results

Bore well may not required as of now.

If you give longitude and latitude of the spot of pond, then it may good to guide you.

No, i don’t think this soil will hold water, it would just seep thru.  My consideration was based on the fact that the water table itself is high.  I have a pond like structure already above my land level that holds water till feb.

Okay. So, i need to start to dig a small one first, if there is enough water then expand, if there is not so good water then go deep.  This increase would be based on the calculated water requirement.

I can certainly have fishes, but being vegetarian i can’t sell or kill.

Sure, its varying in that small region.  My immediate neighbours have water at 15 ft.

Do you suggest vertical ones or the slope ones for stone pitching?

Sure, in fact this is the second one.  First one with natural spring that is above me land level will have the water till feb.  Next plan would be another pond at the lowest elevation to catch rain water.


No, i don’t think this soil will hold water, it would just seep thru.  My consideration was based on the fact that the water table itself is high.  I have a pond like structure already above my land level that holds water till feb.
Okay. So, i need to start to dig a small one first, if there is enough water then expand, if there is not so good water then go deep.  This increase would be based on the calculated water requirement.

I can certainly have fishes, but being vegetarian i can’t sell or kill.[/quote]
Fish help to purify water, you can give shelter for them to get help from them, even allow tortoise also take shelter with you as you may not kill them and Iam sure they will safe in your hand

If the soil does not hold water, its best to go for well.  The reason I am suggesting is you have to consider the evaporation of the water in your pond.  The more the surface area of the water, the more the evaporation.  Unless you have a surplus of water that cannot go into the well and it is overflowing, then go for pond.

What is the intention to go for Pond?  As suggested by me, the pond may be utilized for storing excess water during rain which in turn will increase the groundwater level by seeping into the soil as well as you can utilize the pond for fish, livestock maintenance etc.

Padmanabhan Ganesan

Attached picture is one of the ponds from my neighbour, he has multiple some with good yield and some not so much.  This pond is only 7 ft deep and supplies water for more than 3 acres.

This is tempting me to try pond.

On observing the status of wall of the pond in photo.
Soil strength is not up to the mark, the same condition may be with your pond too.
Hence  I suggest you  have Stone pitching to avoid mud sliding in to pond.

However, it is alway best to judge upon the reality by checking personally about its strength to take further decision.


I had 2 water diviners visiting my farm.  These people use a coconut and walk around the farm, its said that wherever there is abundant water, they feel it and coconut starts shaking.  I tried it nothing happened.

First one was very dramatic he was jumping in some places (one of our farm worker was saying that reminded him of volley ball double fault).  He showed some points for open well and couple of places for bore well.  For open well he said we could get water in 22 - 28 feet range and for the bore well we need to go 200- 250- ft.

And the second one is my buddy,  this person is ZP ( Zilla Panchayat) elected, in his area he got around 45 bore wells sanctioned, it seems that all the bore well points were shown by him.  He said, he learnt that by accident, when the first bore well was being identified by geologist some people recommended coconut technique, and to his surprise it was shaking ( and the coconut was standing upright in that place on his palm). Since then he did this job for all the bore wells that was sanctioned for his ZP area, and he was 100% success, he did not practice it elsewhere. But came to my farm when i said that i was trying to spot the location for my well.

Leaving apart all the stories is there any way to reliably find the water point?  Does anyone suggest any other method before i go ahead with these points.  Earth excavator is done with trenching and left the farm yesterday.  As i was not fully decided on well pond  and its location, thought of getting it done in couple of weeks.  So i have around 15 days to try anything else.

(Off topic:)  Local farmers were updating me about a small water source in the forest, we could locate this one.  It seems to have couple of spring, when  i did the rough measurement, it seems to have around 3000+ ltrs of water per, this is in mid april and it is peak of summer.  I am not sure if i can draw water from this place, tried reading forest act, but did not understand anything about using these for farm use.  Any pointers on this would be great.

Quite amazing to see you still have water just a depth of 20-30 feet!

I have been speaking to several geologists of late who use the resistivity meters or other approaches and they guarantee no more than a 70% confidence of water availability. Part of their evaluation is surveying the local area to review how the bores around are yielding.

Looks like it is going to be an expense to be incurred to be on the safe side, whether or not it actually delivers any results.

Thank you all for all the inputs till now, seeking further advice on experts on ponds.  Do we have any design for ponds.

Local think tank was tending to go with wide pond, say 40x40x6 in top level, 32x32x6 in the second level and 24x24x6 for the third level.  Idea is to avoid the collapse of the side wall, and even if it does, it should not fall beyond one level.  Considering couple of things, less cost, to avoid ring or stone pitching until its absolutely necessary, easy access to pond for cleaning etc.

You may want to visit my place anytime. I am sure you would like it.

Sure, let me talk to geologists.

Dear Hegde,
Do not hurry for bore well as monsoon is starting shortly.Waiting up to december may not be big problem.but in the meantime lot more can be studied personally.

I know farmers advice with their experiences earned from years together and their advices will be very simple and sustainable with low cost etc.

Final decisions is yours.
All the best.

Thanks Swamy, will do that.  Here is the plan as of now.

  1. Clean up the water source at the highest level and try to get this via 1 inch pipe down to the existing pond.
  2. Clean up the exiting pond and lower it by 1 ft ( done)
  3. New pond to be dug in the identified location.  Timing to be decided, if not now, i need to wait till next April for this.

Cultivation  will begin in June with rain water as once it rains there would be water till next January/February.

Thanks all for inputs and advice.  Will need some info on plants/crops/ and tools, will start a new thread.

Further update after completion of any of the above activity.

Hi Hegde,

I took the help of a Geologist who came with some flux meters and gave me two points for water source.
His drawings indicated the convergence of underground streams and the point is at is convergence. Water at 80 ft onwards and hard rock from 35 ft. Approximate water at around 2 to 2.5 inch.

One practical suggestion given by him is to go for 500 ft even if you get water at 80 to 150 ft. This will ensure that your borewell is future proof. I will be going for the drill next week. will update on the process once it is done.

If you have decided to go for the bore well every one has suggested to go for it in Summer. before the onset of monsoon. But swamy is insisting during monsoon. Any reason for that.



Oh great, you got so much of detail.  Shall i call you for more details?.

True, everyone suggests the same.  My thought was, govt is heavily investing on rain water harvesting pits and trenches, so in the long run water table should rise.
Have you already spoken to digger?. what would be the cost.

Sure, summuer is the right time.  I think even Swamy’s suggested the same but he said you can wait till next summer to study the place as within a month we will have monsoon. isn’t it?

check this link for farm pond design and recommendations