KKL-JNF Director General Amnon Ben Ami speaks at the Water Sensitive Cities Conference.
(photo credit: DENNIS ZINN KKL-JNF)
The need for a sustainable and unified environmental policy to deal with the escalating problem of urban water contamination was the message that came from this year’s Water Sensitive Cities Conference, which was held at the Kfar Maccabiah hotel on October 29, 2017.
The Conference was hosted by The Center for Water Sensitive Cities in Israel and KKL-JNF. Amongst the participants were city planners, heads of local and regional councils, water authority officials, landscape architects and drainage engineers.Head of the Center for Water Sensitive Cities in Israel Dr. Yaron Zinger, who was the driving force behind the conference, said that the main idea behind the event was to showcase the achievements in the field of water sensitive cities, and to talk about the way forward.
“The problem has become acute. Our weather has become extreme, with short fierce rainfall after long dry periods. Today some 90% of the residents of the country live in cities which are expanding fast. As a result there is more runoff which means more pollution and our ecology is suffering. We regard the city water basin as a water supplier, and the challenge is to deal with flooding in the basin and to make that water usable. We want to promote awareness amongst the relevant parties of the problem resulting from untended water runoff, especially the government and local authorities, because they ultimately have to deal with the problem. They are the planners and the developers.”
The conference was opened by Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, who said that Israel’s current expertise in water technology was born out of a need, however with all the expertise there is still a serious need to deal with the issue of storm water and runoff pollution.
“We have begun, but what we have achieved is not sufficient. Every year when the rains start we see how the runoff gathers up the dirt that had built up during the summer and delivers this contamination to the Yarkon River and to the sea. Due to its geographical location, Tel Aviv is on the receiving end of pollution that comes from cities further east. During rainfall, pollution from Petach Tikva streams into to the Big City. We want to put an end to that, and we will cooperate with everybody that can deal with it.”Read more about the Water Sensitive Cities Conference in Tel Aviv