How to Determine Water Flow in a Fountain Spillway

Spillways add drama to fountains and guide water flow, helping minimize sediment and waste of fountain surfaces. In order to remain fresh and clean, all of the water in little fountain pools must cycle through the fountain each hour — larger pools must recycle every two hours. Your pump, rated to lift a quantity of water to a particular height to the spillway, gives you a hint about how much water flows — or should flow — over the spillway. Measuring the actual leak requires a bucket, a timepiece and a bit of arithmetic.

Locate a bucket of known quantity — 5 gallons is a good size. Many buckets are a bit larger than their stated volume, so utilize a gallon jug to fill the bucket with exactly 5 gallons of water and mark the degree using a waterproof marker.

Place the bucket under the spillway’s lip so that it catches all of the water passing through the socket and start the stopwatch. Hold the bucket steady so no water splashes over a tipped border.

Catch the water until the water strikes the 5-gallon mark, then stop the stopwatch.

Divide 5 gallons by the number of moments it took to fill to the mark.

Multiply the number of gallons per minute by 60 to find the number of gallons of water that fall over the spillway per hour — the gallons per hour, or flow speed.

Repeat the measurement at least three times and divide the gallons per hour by the number of trials to get an average flow for the spillway.

Measure all the spillways in this manner and add the flow speeds to get the entire water flow to your fountain.

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