Definition: A pondless waterfall or "child-proof waterfall" is a
waterfall that cascades into a subterranean catch basin or cistern
rather than a pond. The collected water is then returned to the top of
the waterfall by means of a pump system.
In 1984 I built what I called a "childproof" waterfall using reinforced
concrete, because building codes state that because of the liability
factor, ponds can only be 18" deep or you are required to conform to all
of the same building codes and requirements of a swimming pool (6 foot
fence perimeter, special gates, door alarms, etc.)." Since this
waterfall was located in the front yard, it could not be more than 18"
and if it was, there was not enough space for a large enough pond to
prevent it from being sucked dry by the time the water returned back to
the pond by way of the waterfall. So I installed an electronic water
leveler system to insure the collection basin would automatically be
replenished with water as needed. My term for this type of water feature
is "child-proof" because it makes it safe for children and eliminates
the liability factor and passes the building codes. Since the advent of
utilizing rubber liners to construct waterfalls and ponds in the early
nineties, this type of waterfall has been called a "pondless
Rubber liner ponds and waterfalls are okay for short term use. However,
they are susceptible to attacks from rats, mice, ground squirrels,
gophers, chipmunks, tree roots, sharp objects, stretching from heavy
boulders etc. I go into great detail on the critical flaws of pond liner
construction in an article entitled Pondless Waterfalls: Concrete vs.
Liners. This article contains documentation that leaves no doubt that
pondless waterfalls are cheaper to build using concrete and steel rather
than using a pondless waterfall liner kit. Not to mention that it is
cheaper to operate and maintain.