Second edition of Sustainable Water Resource Handbook now online

2 October 2012

The second edition of Alive2Green’s Sustainable Water Resource Handbook is now available online.  The issues my colleagues and I addressed in this edition were of immense interest, both locally and abroad.  The water quality issues we face are of an entirely cosmopolitan nature and based on the comments we received, our synthesis of the overall ‘water quality crisis’ was accurate and clear.

Bill Harding, Editor, The Sustainable Water Resource Handbook Vol 2

Climate change spurs need for more dams in Africa

27 September 2012

Recent press articles have noted the problems with water supply in some towns in Zimbabwe, so much so that whole towns have been required to flush their toilets at the same time, on the same day, in order to flush out accumulated waste in the sewer systems! Other issues, hotly denied by the authorities in Harare, point to potentially-serious water quality problems, with green-tinged water being delivered to end-users.  Similar problems are being reported from Zanzibar. Read more »

Walnut Creek gets some floating islands!

25 September 2012

Planting Walnut Creek’s new islands (Source: Costra Conta Times)

To cut down on chemically treating water and to give fish a chance to thrive, Walnut Creek [California] became the first Bay Area city Tuesday to try out man-made floating islands as an environmentally sustainable way to get cleaner water and improve fish habitat.  This pond is cement lined and has no hope of attaining any decent level of semi-natural functionality without a technology such as the floating island concept. Read more »

Floating islands simply amazing for improving zoo ponds

6 September 2012

An otter enjoying his floating island daybed

We have all been to zoos and marvelled at the animals.  I am sure that there are many of you who have wondered why the water in the ponds and pools in the animal enclosures always looks so dodgy?  It doesn’t need to be.  BioHaven floating islands provide an immediately-active means of water quality improvement that can be used by the animals as well.  BioHavens turn yucky zoo ponds into functional semi-natural ecosystems, providing habitat for microorganisms and even fish, while sucking up pollutants and preventing that green tinge and algal scums.

The benefits of these islands are being studied at a zoo in Norfolk, Virginia.

Read more »

BioHaven floating islands remove nitrates better and cheaper

2 September 2012

BioHaven floating islands in nitrate-removal mode.

One of the issues coming from the World Water Week, last week in Stockholm, was the cost of recovering nutrients, in this case nitrates, from runoff.  BioHaven floating island technologies provide a means of removing vast quantities of nutrients and pollutants without the need for massive areas of wetlands or ponds. Read more »

It is possible to grow fish and not pollute the environment

30 August 2012


High fish production without the “green”

Aquaculture is not very scientific and includes a big risk of polluting the environment.  Fish are put into floating cages and then food is thrown at them- which they eat and convert into nutrient-rich excreta which, together with the uneaten food, pushes up the nutrient levels in the surrounding water.  This is fine in fast-flowing, well-flushed environments but in many there is the risk of algae build-up and the production of sales-affecting tastes and odours and even toxins.

BioHavens have changed all this. Read more »

Shoprite launches floating islands

30 August 2012

Final planting prior to positioning (Photo: L Muller)

Two BioHaven floating islands were launched this week at the DH Environmental-designed stormwater treatment facility for the new Shoprite centre in Parklands, north of Cape Town.  A total of 480 sq feet of islands, providing a massive 11 000 sq meters (yes, meters) of submerged surface area, were planted up and positioned in the treatment pond. Read more »

BioHaven floating islands add to their product range

29 August 2012

Some of the BioHaven product range

Something akin to the “wetland in a bag” concept introduced in South Africa by DH Environmental Consulting, Floating Island International have introduced another product known as ‘Freshwater Coral”.  This comes in various forms, most recently in chains of bags as shown in the images below. Read more »

Yet another floating island success story!

27 August 2012

BioHaven floating islands have been installed in ponds at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk, similar to those shown above in the Lincoln Zoo. In southeastern Virginia, these grant-funded islands have been planted and are being studied and evaluated at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia Institute of Marine Science at Gloucester Point and the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk.

Plants placed in the holes establish a hanging network of roots and rhizomes that help filter pollutants. The islands can function in any water depth, and are usually planted with native species – cardinal flower, irises, sedges and grasses – that can also be enjoyed in home gardens.

“Since we began the study in late April this year, we have noted other functions of the floating wetlands,” says William and Mary professor Randy Chambers.

Snakes, frogs and turtles used the wetland in addition to birds.

“Both great blue herons and little green herons have been attracted to and land on the floating treatment wetland to feed,” Chambers said. “We also observed a red-tailed hawk catching a water snake in the wetland; hummingbirds frequent the cardinal flowers.”

A stormwater pond known on campus as “Grim Dell” due to its dismal appearance, now attracts people who watch and take pictures of wildlife attracted to the floating island.

W&M student Katherine Thomas, in charge of monitoring water quality in the pond, applauds the project because no independent research has been done on these floating wetlands. She feels the entire country can benefit from what’s been tested locally.

“Since these stormwater ponds are all over the country, it would be ideal if we could use floating wetlands for habitats, aesthetics and water quality improvement,” she said. “Overall, we would just like to make something more useful out of these human-created stormwater ponds.”

Two islands totalling 736 square feet also were installed on the Elizabeth River. Within 24 hours, a mallard built a nest and laid an egg among the hibiscus, lizard’s tail, bulrush, cattail and sweet flag, according to project leaders.

An 80-square-foot island was installed at Kinder Morgan Elizabeth River Terminals, and a smaller one was put in a homeowner’s backyard pond in April.

For information on BioHavens in South Africa, please contact DH Environmental Consulting at

Beware of imitations!

World’s biggest floating island is in the water!

17 August 2012

Assembly of the world’s largest floating island nears completion in Lake Rotorua

The world’s biggest BioHaven floating, all 5100 square meters of it, is getting ready to move into Lake Rotorua on New Zealand’s north island.  The island is intended to soak up nutrients from agricultural runoff.  Don’t you wish your lake had one?