Cleaning operations at the Kishon River have recommenced, after a dispute between the Environmental Protection Ministry and Water Authority had stalled the project’s progress.
Two weeks ago, the ongoing project to rehabilitate the once highly polluted river was frozen, due to the Water Authority commissioner’s refusal to allow the discharge of purified Kishon water back into the river, according to Environment Ministry complaints. For its part, the Water Authority accused the Environment Ministry of failing to carry out all tests required by the Water Law on the water in question.
While a professional advisory committee has approved the discharge, Water Authority commissioner Alexander Kushnir delayed the project, stressing that the ministry was seeking to approve a project that did not meet legal requirements for water standards and failed to examine sufficient parameters.
The Environment Ministry said in response that it had submitted data on all the required parameters.
By Sunday, however, the Kishon River Rehabilitation Project Administration reported that the Water Authority had granted the permit for discharging treated Kishon water back into the river.
The administration is made up of representatives from numerous bodies, including the Kishon River Authority, the Kishon Drainage Authority, the Environmental Protection Ministry, and the surrounding local authorities.
“Together with Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz, the Environmental Protection Ministry, the authorities in Haifa Bay, and the many entities involved in the national and historic project of rehabilitating the Kishon River, we are happy to welcome the renewal of the important work at the site,” a statement from the Kishon River Rehabilitation Project Administration said. “We continue to restore the river to life for the benefit of hundreds of thousands of Haifa Bay residents and for the good of all citizens of Israel, who desperately need a thriving and restored river.”
Under the framework of the Kishon River rehabilitation plan, about 7 kilometers and 400,000 cubic meters of contaminated river sediment will be dredged over the next 18 months, the project administrators explained. River water will be pumped out along with the sediment and returned to the river after treatment. In addition, the river will eventually be surrounded by a metropolitan park, the administrators added.