Water replenishment and treatment through Floating Treatment Wetland- A Nature-based Solution

Freshwater Programme, WWF-Pakistan
Published: 16 September 2021
Last edited: 16 September 2021
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For the project titled “Community Water Stewardship:Replenishing Groundwater Resources in Lahore”, one of the identified replenishment methods included treatment of wastewater through Floating Treatment Wetland (FTW). For its installation, Manak village was found to have large sewage wastewater and rain fed ponds along with musty odor creating nuisance and posing a significant health risk to the community.

FTW was created by using floating mats that provide foundation for plants to grow. The aligned mats float on the surface of the water and allow plants’ roots to spread throughout creating a vast activated surface area for microbes to live. These plants then uptake pollutants as nutrients from the inland water body. The microorganisms growing on the plant root systems break down and consume organic matter in the water through microbial decomposition, hence, effectively removing the pollutants from the water body.



South Asia
Scale of implementation
Freshwater ecosystems
Pool, lake, pond
Wetland (swamp, marsh, peatland)
Indigenous people
Science and research
Wastewater treatment
Vector and water borne diseases
Pollution (incl. eutrophication and litter)
Inefficient management of financial resources
Lack of access to long-term funding
Lack of technical capacity
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Poor monitoring and enforcement
Unemployment / poverty
Sustainable development goals
SDG 6 – Clean water and sanitation
SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals
Aichi targets
Target 8: Pollution reduced
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience


Manak Village, Lahore, Pakistan | Chukera Faisalabad Pakistan


Some of the challenges addressed include; controlling the disposal of solid waste in the surrounding vicinity of the pond, maintenance of the mats after their installation, instructing and convincing the livestock owners to stop buffalos from entering the pond to prevent the mats from dislodging and timely harvesting of plants to prevent biodegradation.


Farming Community (improved quality of wastewater)

Fisherman (considering there is a fish pond next to the wastewater pond)

Residents of Manak Village (minimized odour and reducing spread of waterborne diseases)

How do the building blocks interact?

Each building block of the solution is interlinked. It starts with identifying the problem statement leading to assessment studies. During the assessment studies, all potential prerequisites are defined. Once the technical partners come on board, only then the assessment studies are endorsed facilitating in selecting the potential sites. After site selection, the community members of that site are taken on board for giving consents and highlighting the on-ground challenges of the demarcated site. Once the consents are on board, execution of the project takes place. It is only after the awareness and capacity building sessions that the community takes ownership of the intervention. After execution, the monitoring and analysis is conducted to check efficiency and sustainability of the solution.  


The direct beneficiaries of this solution include the fisherman, dairy farmers and the farming community in and around the vicinity of Manak Village Lahore. Some other positive impacts include; removal of pollutants and excess nutrients from village ponds, provision of habitat for migratory, resident bird species and freshwater turtles (Indian Flapshell Turtle), improvement in fish yield at Fish Pond 1, reduction in amounts of BOD, Nitrates and Phosphates and improvement in the amount of DO, improved aesthetics by minimizing odour, provision of riparian edge to birds (Cattle Egret and Grey Heron), improved and enhanced water quality seeping into the aquifer.



During the post-installation survey, a local fisherman at Manak Village, who has been rearing fish in the village wetlands, was clearly beaming in response to questions asked about the installation of Floating Treatment Wetland (FTW). When inquired, he replied that just a few months ago he was worried about the low fish yield impacting his livelihood. However, it was after the installation of this FTW that led to an increase in the fish yield  while impacting his income positively. It is now that he feels motivated and hopeful for a better future.  


Contributed by

atahir_40371's picture

Sohail Ali Naqvi World Wide Fund for Nature - Pakistan

Other contributors

WWF-Pakistan (former organization - at the time of installation of FTW)