"The tenant complained that water is ponding in the parking area." or, "Due to the ponding of water in the lower lying areas, mosquitoes became a nuisance."

"ponding" is not accepted by spellcheckers and I can not find a reference in dictionaries either.

In Namibia and South Africa "ponding" is used in spoken and written English extensively, especially in technical reports.

The question is whether this is a valid verb or not. If not, what verb would describe the formation of puddles?

  • 2
    In the US we'd probably use pooling especially in a technical report. But ponding is immediately interpretable and I'd interpret it as a playful jab at just how big the puddles were getting.
    – Jim
    Nov 7, 2013 at 7:46
  • You couldn't call it puddling as that means something else entirely. Nov 7, 2013 at 8:42
  • 1
    "The tenant complained that water is flooding the parking area" is perhaps more easily understood in the UK.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Nov 7, 2013 at 8:50
  • We make a distinction between flooding and ponding. Flooding would occur when runoff is impeded or when excessive rain or inflow of water is the cause. Ponding is more localised and is caused due to depressions in the surface which retain water in small puddles or pools. Floods usually recede fairly quickly while ponds or puddles need to percolate into the ground or evaporate. In that case they are a nuisance and possibly a health risk because they form a breeding ground for insects like mosquito's. Nov 7, 2013 at 10:41
  • Ponding is a recognised word in engineering terminology. I have found it in "Planning & Design of Airports, second edition" (1975) by Robert Horonjeff. Nov 20, 2013 at 9:03

1 Answer 1


'Ponding' and 'pooling' are perfectly well understood terms, but likely to be used more by a drainage engineer than in everyday speech. Were it me talking about the road outside my house I would say 'Water is collecting (or gathering) in puddles'.


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