(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Jewish National Fund is using advanced wastewater treatment technology in an attempt to change the destiny of Yeroham in the Negev.
"Yeroham is a home to 9,500 people, who create as much as one million cubic meters of waste water a year. We thought it could be a great resource if we could treat the water and use it again for other purposes," says Ishay Shechter, head of the JNF's planning and strategy division. He has accompanied the project, called "Yeroham - lake town," ever since its start in 1998.
"Yeroham's lake was a big attraction for locals when it was full and relied on flood water. But in 2000 the sewage system collapsed into the lake and it was closed because of sanitation issues. The JNF decided to bring it back to life by building a purification facility near the lake that will treat the town's wastewater to a level that this water can be poured back into the lake, where fish for fishing and for human consumption will swim," says Shechter, adding that the project is a noncommercial one.
JNF invested almost $10 million in the project and its leadership believes it will turn Yeroham into an attractive tourism destination with a bird-watching center, a long and beautiful promenade, a 1,600 dunam (about 400 acre) green park and, down the road, hotels.
Currently, only a small part of the park is open to the public, but JNF expects the entire site to be ready within a year.