Kenya Delegation Visits the Kfar Saba Biofilter.
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
A delegation of government and business leaders from Kenya visited the Kfar Saba Biofilter - a system of storm water harvesting and recycling that was built by KKL-JNF, with the support of JNF Australia and Monash University - to see how it could be replicated in Kenya. The group was accompanied by Dr. Yaron Zinger, who introduced the Australian-developed biofilter system to Israel.
“We have so much water and do so little with it, while you have so little water and do so much with it.”
That was the general consensus among the Kenyan delegation which visited the KKL-JNF biofilter system in Kfar Saba on Oct. 13, 2015.
Led by governors Wycliffe Oparanga of Kakamega County, Benjamin Chesire Cheboi of Baringo County and consultant for rural development, and Okotch Mondoh of Africa Business Initiatives, the group was briefed about the system by Dr. Yaron Zinger, who received his PhD from Melbourne’s Monash University and introduced the first biofilters to Israel using technology developed in Australia.
In a detailed presentation, Zinger explained the philosophy and technology behind the use of the Biofilter.
Dr. Zinger explained that due to increased construction and development, storm water cannot be absorbed into the ground in urban areas covered with cement and asphalt. As a result, people have been treating the runoff as a nuisance to be gotten rid of quickly and drained into the sea, rather than as a resource to be harnessed and used for the benefit of all. Sometimes as little as only five percent of the water enters the water table.
Urban runoff is brought to the system through gravity while water from contaminated groundwater wells is pumped into the system. The whole filtering process can take only two hours, he said, and the water produced can, for the moment, be used for irrigation and flushing toilets. It is also versatile in design and can be accommodated to a location's geography, as shown by the two new biofilters now in place in the cities of Bat Yam and Ramle.
“Basically we are helping the government get more water. We are emphasizing the educational aspect of it to help engage the public,” said Zinger. With the three pilot biofilters in place, Zinger hopes that the government will be able to create the necessary regulations.
He told the group that KKL-JNF is about to launch a Water Sensitive Cities research study together with Ben Gurion University and the Technion with the funding of $1.5 million over four years, in order to create guidelines of how to create water sensitive cities for national implementation.
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