Basins are areas for storage of surface runoff that are free from water under dry weather flow conditions such as flood plains and dry basins.
Ponds contain water in dry weather, and are designed to hold more when it rains and are also known as balancing and attenuation ponds.
The structures can even be mixed, including both a permanently wet area for wildlife or treatment of the runoff and an area that is usually dry to cater for flood attenuation. Basins and ponds tend to be found towards the end of the surface water management and drainage system before final outfall into a sewer or watercourse.
Basins and ponds store water at the ground surface, either as temporary flooding of dry basins and flood plains, or permanent ponds. These structures can be designed to manage water quantity and quality.
Basins and ponds can be designed to control flow rates by storing floodwater and releasing it slowly once the risk of flooding has passed (a balancing pond). The stored water will change the water level, and basins and ponds should be designed to function in both dry and wet weather. The control of flow rates can be achieved by specialist flow control structures such as orifice plates and vortex flow controls which are designed bespoke to each individual application.
The size of basins and ponds can also be influenced by the amount of water that can be allowed to infiltrate into the ground if there is no risk to groundwater quality.
Basins should not be built on, but can be used for sports and recreation. Permanently wet ponds can be used to store water for reuse, and offer excellent opportunities for the provision of wildlife habitats. Both basins and ponds can be part of the public open space often required as part of the planning process.
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