Sunset at the kinneret 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ammar Awad)
Next month the Water Authority will allow the discharge of 1,000 cubic meters of
water per hour from the Kinneret basin into the the Jordan River, with the
ultimate goal of letting in 30 million cubic meters of water flow past the
Deganiya Dam annually, the Jordan Rehabilitation Administration announced on
Water has no been released on a large scale in years from the
Kinneret basin into the Jordan, whose flow has dropped to a standstill as the
level of the river dwindled and it has boasted only high levels of
Replenishing the flow of the river will only be the first
stage in its rehabilitation, stressed Water Authority Commissioner Alexander
Kushnir, to representatives of the Israeli and Jordanian governments gathered at
a seminar in Tel Aviv on Thursday – organized by the Southern Jordan River
A collaboration of many bodies including the Drainage
Authority, the Environmental Protection Ministry, the Water Authority, the Emek
Hamayanot Regional Council, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and Keren
Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund, the Jordan Rehabilitation Administration
was established in 2009 with the purpose of removing the river's contaminants
and restoring its natural value.
Although the Water Authority will begin
next month by pumping 1,000 cubic meters per hour, in the future the government
will be able to consider boosting the stream with additional water flow, Kushnir
Meanwhile, within two years, a sewage treatment facility will
begin to operate in the region, capable of conserving the water level and
maintaining quality, he said. The facility will ensure that chlorine levels in
the treated water drop from 3,000 milligrams per liter to 1,000 milligrams per
liter, and will solve the issue of waste-water penetrating the riverbed, Kushnir
All of these improvements in water quality will translate into an
ecological restoration process that will increase biodiversity and protect
endangered species in the region, he added.
In addition, the Jordan
Rehabilitation Administration will clear land mines this summer that extend
along 30 kilometers of the river’s perimeter, so that the river can become more
accessible to visitors, said Inbal Abraham, project manager on behalf of the
The ultimately purpose of the project is to restore
historically valuable ecological habitats and agricultural spaces while
leveraging peace and cooperation along the way, said Ramon Ben- Ari, CEO of the
Saad Abu Hammour, head of the Jordan Valley Authority
on the Jordanian side, welcomed the project and said that a Jordanian team was
working in conjunction with the Israeli group.
Although in favor of
recharging the Jordan River with a clean and stable water supply, regional
environmental organization Friends of the Earth Middle East has repeatedly said
that the 30 million cubic meters promised by Israel will not be sufficient.
Between 400 and 600 million cubic meters of water is needed to replenish the
Lower Jordan, and Israel should be allocating at least 220 million cubic meters,
Friends of the Earth said.