Placing Equipment order this Friday (8/21): Looking for Guidance on Pump for Water Features


Active member
Aug 9, 2020
Porter, TX
Planning to place my pool equipment order with SCP Distributors this Friday for my Owner PB and think I've got everything nailed down with 1 exception and could use some clarification/understanding/guidance.

Details of pool/spa combo in my signature but will be a 17K IG with elevated spa with spillover. But my question surrounds the 3 Water Descents that we would be adding on some raised beams. 2 descents would be 2' (sitting 10" above coping) and 1 descent would be 3' (sitting 16" above coping). The only other water feature I would have are 3 bubblers in a tanning shelf but I believe those would be fine to run through the Pentair Intelliflo VSP (3HP) I've chosen. So that leaves me with those 3 descents and what thoughts folks had on dedicated pump for this? Or is dedicated necessary? And if a dedicated pump is installed, (newbie question) but where does the suction for that occur? I've looked at some plumbing configurations and while I see a defined suction section, in the setups I've looked at the water features sections seem to be separate from the suction area at the equipment pad, so I get confused.

Any info that can be shared would be appreciated. I through in a screenshot of a video I took of a friends configuration which is what partly led to my confusion. He has 4 water descents which I can correlate to the right side with the never lube valves, and I can see its attached to a dedicated pump, but the inlet side for that pump there is a just a single line that goes right underground. Is it possible that underneath it is connected to the rest of the suction? Does the water feature pump not run through the filter?


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Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
Katy TX
Pool Size
Liquid Chlorine
Hi and welcome to TFP.
A water feature does NOT need to go through the filter. It is good to have a separate flow system for your water feature because it can be independent of your circulation system and at the same time provides an alternative circulation system if your main pool pump would break down for a day or so.
My water feature has a suction on side of the pool. The suction looks just like a bottom drain but it is about 3 ft down on the side. You may want to look at your friends pool to see if that is the case. If not, then most likely the suction line for the water feature is tee'd into the suction for the main drain or skimmer line. This would be most likely underground.
I would endorse a separate flow loop for your water feature and since you have 3 features do you plan to control them independently or as a single unit? Valves could be placed where the pipes come out of the ground behind each of the decents if you wish to be able to isolate the flow to each separately. Or you can have it set up like your picture at the equipment pad with independent lines to each decent.
Depending on how far away your equipment pad is from the decents and the elevation, a 1 to 1 1/2 hp motor should be suffice. It does not need to be variable speed unless you wish to spend the extra $$$.
Hope this helps.


Active member
Aug 9, 2020
Porter, TX
@HermanTX thanks so much for the reply! I appreciate the clarification on the water feature pump and it makes good sense to have separate circulation.

Funny you mention the suction on the side wall which looks like a bottom drain. We swam there on Sunday and I actually saw 2 drains just like that on the side wall and was wondering what they were for. Now I know!

As far as the pump selection goes, the furthest away descent is about 72ft from the pad and I was thinking of setting them up on independent valves at the pad itself. Looking at Jandy or CMP Descents as we speak. From what the manual states with my 7’ total of waterfall, I would need about ~70GPM running 2” pipe. I could probably achieve via 1HP but may go 1 1/2HP to be safe. Thanks again!
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TFP Guide
Jul 3, 2013
Southern OK
I am in the other camp, use your VSP pump and have all 3 descents on a separate valves that could be run at any volume from nothing to full out with a 3hp VSP motor.... That motor has the power and with valves can do just about anything you want..

This dose 2 things...

1. only 1 very efficient pool pump
2. more control for you to set how you want...

If you want more water out your descents move the valves all the way open and raise your VSP to 3000 rpm or more or less depending on what you like.. If you have automation it can be really easy to set it up and only hit 1 button and it would do it all for you..
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