(photo credit: KKL)
The Wetlands site in Hod Hasharon is one of the most important ecological projects currently being carried out in Israel, whose goal is to contribute towards the purification and restoration of the Yarkon River. Purified effluents from the Hod Hasharon and Kfar Saba sewage purification plant are specially treated at the wetlands project and then channeled to the Yarkon River in order to improve the river's water quality. In the near future, there are plans to begin pumping water from the wetlands for irrigation of lawns and agricultural crops.
A delegation of representatives from the KKL-JNF World Leadership Conference that began its first day of tours as part of pre-conference events, received an explanation from David Pargament, director of the Yarkon River Authority, on this environment-friendly technology. The polluted water is channeled into shallow pools with various sorts of water plants and gravel. Passage through the pools causes chemical, physical and biological processes that distance polluted particles and as a result improve the water quality. In fact, this is actually a system based on artificial swamps that copy the purification processes that take place in natural swamps.
The quality of the water treated in this manner approaches that of drinking water. The water is channeled to the nearby Nahal Kaneh riverbed, from where it flows into the Yarkon. This helps purify the river from the sewage and pollutants that flowed into it for years and caused severe damage.
Pargament: "Not only people will benefit from this project, but the entire natural environment, which includes various flora and fauna, whose ability to survive is dependent on the restoration of the river."
The success of this project will contribute towards the quality of life for the local residents and nature lovers. Besides its ecological advantages, the site will become part of an urban park that the Hod Hasharon municipality is planning to build nearby. This recreational park will cover an area of 80 dunams and will include walking paths, bike riding trails and various recreational and ecological activities.
A few technical details about the park: The project includes three filtering pools, the largest of which can hold 6,000 cubic meters of water. Each pool is filled with 1.2 meters of water and 1.1 meters of gravel. The three-tiered pipe system includes air-inducing pipes, receiving pipes and pipes with water sprinkling devices. Pipes that are 90 cms wide channel the water into the river.
The Wetlands site is an important part of the national master plan for the restoration of the Yarkon River and its ecosystem. The project is being carried out by KKL-JNF with the support of friends of KKL-JNF from Australia, who contributed a great deal towards Yarkon River restoration in general, and towards the Wetlands project specifically. Project supporters include relatives of the Maccabiah bridge tragedy, whose loved ones were killed when the bridge collapsed and they fell into the polluted Yarkon River.
Joe Hess, Vice President for Government Relations of JNF USA and co-chairman of the World Leadership Conference: "The Australian families who were injured by the pollution in the Yarkon did not choose to turn their backs in anger towards Israel, but rather to take responsibility for restoring the river. This is exactly what we mean when we talk about KKL-JNF's 'heart'."
Commenting on the Wetlands project and other ecological projects that KKL-JNF
promotes, Hess said: "The new technologies that these ecological projects are based on allow for sustainable development. Israel is one of the leading countries in the world in many fields, including water recycling."
One of the main topics that will be discussed at the World Leadership Conference is dealing with the de-legitimization campaign that is being waged against Israel in many places in the world. According to Hess, projects such as these can help with projecting a more positive image of Israel: "Israeli technologies help many developing countries, and it is important that the world should know about this and talk about it, instead of the unjust criticism that is directed against Israel."
Commenting on the Leadership Conference, Hess noted that this meeting of 200 people from thirty-one countries makes it possible to exchange ideas, to share a mutual learning experience and to have meaningful discussions about the various topics that concern the representatives: "We are all Jews who support KKL-JNF and are interested in being involved and contributing towards the development of the state of Israel," he added.
Max Federmann, President of KKL-JNF Sweden and co-chairman of the conference said with a smile that his country has a lot of water, but the only problem is that it's usually frozen: "We are aware of Israel's ecological concerns, especially the challenges it faces in the field of water, and we are interested in being partners to this effort. KKL-JNF is known as an organization that plants trees, and we need to increases people's awareness of the full range of important activities that KKL-JNF promotes in various fields."
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