The Kidron River is the worst sewage hazard in Israel. That is how the stream monitoring unit inspectors from the Israel Nature and Parks Authority describe the river that begins in Jerusalem and flows east by way of the West Financial institution to the Useless Sea. This environmental abomination has been occurring for many years, however its finish is now in sight.
Over the previous few months, the Jerusalem water and sewage corporations, Hagihon and Jerusalem Wastewater and Purification Enterprises, have begun work to ascertain a system of filtration and purification services to deal with the sewage to make it appropriate for agricultural use by Palestinians and Israeli settlers within the Jordan Valley.
The story of the Kidron may function the idea of an interesting course in environmental research. It serves for example of how a nationwide battle can stop the preservation of a necessary useful resource and switch a gem of nature, panorama and heritage right into a extreme environmental hazard.
The stream gathers untreated sewage from Jerusalem and Palestinian communities, flowing by way of each territories managed by Israel and people underneath the civil duty of the Palestinian Authority. Over 13 million cubic meters of sewage flows by way of the Kidron yearly, collected in reservoirs constructed by the water authority for the settlers within the Jordan Valley. Solely after an preliminary purification course of can the water be used for agricultural irrigation by way of a pipeline.
For years, Israel and the PA have been unable to succeed in an settlement on the route and site of the sewage therapy services, the sewage traces, or the pipelines for the handled water.
Solely the endless efforts of various intermediaries, led by environmental legislation knowledgeable Prof. Richard Laster of the Hebrew College of Jerusalem, adopted by the involvement of the Israeli Water Authority and the Prime Minister’s Workplace, led to the breakthrough. The trouble was aided by a authorized battle, initiated by the Zalul Environmental Affiliation to scrub up the Kidron.
An understanding was ultimately reached on the idea of mutual curiosity. Israel urgently wanted to take care of the nationwide disgrace of its capital polluting the atmosphere. The Palestinians, alternatively, wanted an answer to the sewage hazard, together with a supply of water for agricultural land within the Jericho area. Hagihon and the Jerusalem water purification firm, each of that are chaired by Avi Balashnikov, the previous director basic of the Environmental Safety Ministry, gave the method a push and started work on the undertaking lately.
The Kidron River is totally different to most, on condition that the sources of the air pollution must be handled, whereas persevering with to ensure an everyday provide of fresh water to the stream. Because the Kidron flows by way of the Judean Desert, its sewage therapy plan relies on restoring it to what it was previously: A dry stream many of the yr, with flowing water solely after winter storms and flooding.
The price of the undertaking is estimated at 800 million shekels ($232 million). A solids filtering facility is being constructed on the exit from Jerusalem and a tunnel for the sewage pipe is being constructed farther to the east. The tunnel will permit the sewage to bypass the Mar Saba Monastery. The final, and easternmost stage of the undertaking would be the growth of the sewage purification plant, which is already in operation and treats waste from components of Jerusalem and different communities. The power might be expanded to incorporate a brand new system that may enormously increase its therapy capability. The handled water from the power will circulation to the Palestinians within the Jericho space and settlers within the Jordan Valley for agricultural use.
The implementation of the plan depends upon the willingness of the PA to hold out its a part of the settlement. One of many important pipelines within the undertaking has been deliberate to cross by way of territory underneath PA management, so the PA might want to lay the pipe that may convey the handled water to Jericho. Giora Shaham, the top of the Israeli Water Authority, and Hagihon are satisfied that the Palestinians have a transparent curiosity to finish the undertaking.
“Within the space of Jericho there are date plantations on an space of 25,000 dunams (6,250 acres),” stated Shaham this week. “Now, a variety of them are younger, however in a couple of extra years there might be a necessity for a big amount of water to irrigate them.”
Eli Cohen-Kagan, the CEO of Hagihon, stated various Palestinian cities within the area have proven nice curiosity in being linked to the sewage therapy system. They’re uninterested in utilizing septic tanks and paying for tanker vans to empty them, he stated.
Nevertheless, present tensions between Israel and the PA may have an effect on the progress of components of the undertaking on the Palestinian facet. If the components of the undertaking in areas underneath Palestinian management fail to be accomplished, sewage will proceed to circulation into components of the stream – however it’ll have been handled already. As well as, the plans are being made to scrub up the large portions of waste which have collected within the streambed through the years, in addition to vegetation that has unfold due to the wastewater, and is inappropriate for the desert atmosphere.
After the coronavirus disaster passes, the Kidron River and the Jericho area may change into an space that draws vacationers, which might be helpful to the Palestinains. However along with its environmental objectives, Israel has managed to show the Kidron into one other technique of extending its presence within the Jordan Valley.
That is the continuation of the rising and deepening coexistence in infrastructure being pressured upon the Palestinians, who should proceed to discover a option to adapt. Their date groves proceed to develop alongside these of the settlers, and everybody will profit from the sewage each peoples created farther up the stream. It’s unclear what the longer term holds for the residents of the area, however perhaps, no less than the stench, trash and air pollution will disappear.