What is a Natural Swimming Pool?

Imagine taking a dip in a swimming pool with sparkling clean water devoid of harmful chemicals. The natural swimming pool also known as the natural swimming pond in Europe, is gaining in popularity and for good reason. It’s beautiful and environmentally friendly.

eco friendly pool

How the Natural Swimming Pool Works

The natural swimming pool does not use any chemicals. It utilizes aquatic plants and a filtration system to clean the water. The natural swimming pool is a mini ecosystem. The pool is composed of two separate but connecting areas; a swimming area and a regeneration area. The swimming area is used for swimming. The regeneration area is where the aquatic plants reside and clean the water. A filtration system is installed in the pool to capture large debris and circulate the water to and from the regeneration area. The filtration system can be run off of solar power to enhance the environmentally friendly appeal.

Source: Bright Hub

Natural Swimming Pools in South Africa

Natural Swimming Pools™ or Eco Pools™  are the environmentally friendly alternative to conventional swimming pools. Instead of using chemicals or salt (really just another source of chlorine), Eco Pools™ are designed to function as balanced ecosystems. When aquatic ecosystems are healthy, the water in them is crystal clear – just think of ponds and streams in nature, and how wonderful it green livingis to swim in them. Eco Pools™ are even better – they are cleaner (no mud on the bottom), safer (the water is absolutely pure) and since it is in the garden you don’t need a 4×4 to get there.

Dr. Jerome Davis, whose company, aQua-design, creates Eco Pools™ explains that: “Natural pools work biologically instead of chemically. The plants in the ecosystem absorb whatever nutrients may be in the water and use it for their growth. This leaves nothing behind in the water for algae to live on. The plants also shade the water, sheltering zooplankton and other aquatic animal life that feed on algae and bacteria, stripping whatever nutrients or algae might remain. This leaves pure, clean water behind for swimming. The water is also highly oxygenated which controls mosquito larvae.”

The plants are contained in an aquatic garden, which is usually separated from the swimming area of the pool. The aqua garden can be constructed next to the pool or displayed as a water feature in another part of the garden and linked to the pool, either through underground pipes or a small stream. There is a wonderful diversity of indigenous wetland plants that are used for natural pools that we rarely see in our gardens. It is exciting to work with the unusual textures and foliage of wetland plants, most of which are powerful water cleansers.

natural pool

Maintaining an Eco Pool™  is really just like maintaining a garden (as opposed to running a chemistry experiment). Aqua gardens need even less maintenance than terrestrial gardens: they don’t need weeding, watering, mowing, mulching or fertilizing. Pests are controlled by frogs and dragon flies. The leaf traps need to be cleared and dead leaves need to be pruned, but if you miss a month or two, the ecosystem will be strong enough to keep the water clear. Pruned water plant material makes excellent mulch and compost due to its high water and bacterial content.

The wetland will attract an incredible diversity of life: crabs, frogs, dragonflies, skaters, water beetles, shrimps, water birds, weavers, and many more. As opposed to a sterile blue chemical pool (surrounded with a barrier of paving to protect the surrounding plants from corrosive chemicals), Eco Pools™  integrate completely, becoming the living, pulsing heart of the garden, brimming with life. Although the water itself is completely clear, the pools reflect the surrounding vegetation as a very pale, translucent green with ever-changing hints of red, blue, gold and yellow. The water is infused with healthy energy and can be used for drinking or cooking. It is also slightly warmer due to solar heating in the shallow water of the aqua-garden.

Because the filtration process is slow and gentle, eco pools use very small pumps and therefore much less electricity than conventional pools.

The only problem with an Eco Pool™ is that once you have swum in one, it is impossible to swim in anything else.

Source: All About Building

[Original Source:  http://www.naturalswimmingpools.co.za/]

banhine national park

Natural lake in Banhine National Park, Mozambique (lake floor bed could be clearly seen even at the deepest parts)

This is another example of how we can learn from Nature.  I have swum in many crystal clear freshwater streams and lakes a nd sparkling mountain pools; in a pristine setting, Nature maintains those waters far better than we could with our chemicals and interfering ways.  If you are thinking of having a natural pool in the Lowveld of South Africa, be prepared for an influx of frogs and toads during the summer.  Breeding frogs can fill a conventional pool with eggs that clog up filter systems (their dead bodies from high chlorine exposure are also a problem). However, in a natural swimming pond the ecology is in balance- excess frog eggs will be preyed on by other pond inhabitants.  It will require a shift in one’s idea of what a swimming pool should be like but it will be a step forward for sustainable living.  If you have a conventional pool that you don’t intend converting, there are many ways of ensuring that it is more ec0-friendly; see Water Saving Tips for your Swimming Pool.  Water Rhapsody’s Poolside Tank prevents unnecessary water wastage when you backwash your pool, see our product demo (scroll down and click on ‘The Water Rhapsody Poolside Tank).

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