A natural swimming pool is a pond that has clean and clear water without the use of chemicals, such as chlorine and other disinfectants, being safe for people and wildlife. The natural pool uses plants and animals to condition the water, and a simple air pump can enhance natural filtration and circulation of the water.
In the video below, you can see David Pagan Butler’s natural organic pool in the Norfolk countryside of England. David uses a pump to help circulate the water through the plants. His pool has been tested and shown to be of drinking water quality. In his words, “If you want a really healthy water, you want it full of life; not devoid of life.”
Through the continual natural “cleaning process” the pool water never needs changing, saving water and storing it for times of need, such as draught. The water attracts wildlife such as beetles, birds, and amphibians, who create a natural ecosystem in the pond, being also of benefit to the rest of the land.
It’s recommended that natural pools should be isolated from the ground water, and the temperature should be kept under 30 degrees C. Fish is not recommended, as they eat daphnia that’s needed in the water, and they add nutrients to the water which can lead to algae. The goal is to try to keep nutrient levels low and keep as much life in the pool as possible. The greater the amount of water in the system, the more stable the system is. The planted zone is recommended to be greater than or equal to the area of the swim zone. So at least 50% of the area dedicated to plants.
The electricity free pond, doesn’t need professional maintenance help of plumbers and electrics, like a swimming pool does. It also can be much cheaper to build. A conventional sterile pool can typically cost around $80,000. It cost $10,000 for David to built his 180 square meters or 2,000 square feet organic pool.
Cristopher Alexander in his classic design book A Pattern Language, notes: “where nourishing contact with water is missing, then each project [home] should make some attempt, on its own and in combination with other projects, to bring water into the environment.”
Not only a great addition to the environment, natural pools can also be useful to families and communities without easy access to fresh bodies of water around the world.