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The Yarkon River has suffered from poor water quality for years, but over the past two years it has suffered from a severe lack of water. This is because the drought in Israel has led many farmers to use increasing amounts of purified waste water for irrigation − water that once flowed into the Yarkon.

The Water Authority recently started advancing a plan to channel water from wells in the city of Hod Hasharon into the Yarkon River. The city, however, has not yet agreed to the project.

“There are sections of the stream where the water level is so low it is harming flora and fauna,” said Yonatan Raz of the Yarkon River Authority, adding that the flow of purified waste water has sometimes been reduced by a third to a half.

Farmers are using more purified waste water than in the past because their allocations of fresh water have been slashed due to the drought. And even purified waste water is in shorter supply today due to water-saving measures people have introduced at home.

According to Yarkon River Authority head David Pergament, a facility is to be built downstream on the Yarkon which will channel all the water in the river back to farmers, thus preventing competition between the needs of nature and agriculture. But that facility will only go into operation in two years, at the earliest.

The Water Authority, in partnership with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, devised a plan more than a year ago to draw water from two wells that belong to the water association of Kfar Hadar, one of the four communities that make up Hod Hasharon. Although that water is not potable because of its proximity to homes and sewage pipes, it is still considered high quality.

According to the initiative, which the Kfar Hadar water association supports, that water would be channeled through a pipeline to the Hadar Stream in southern Hod Hasharon, and from there to the Yarkon.

But to implement the project, the city of Hod Hasharon must first approve the construction of a pipeline, which it has yet to do.

The Hod Hasharon municipality said in response that it was planning to build a park in the southern part of the city, which would involve the ecological rehabilitation of the Hadar Stream, and that one of the goals of this park was to channel clean water to the Yarkon River. The Water Authority’s plan for the Kfar Hadar wells would therefore be redundant, the city said.

“The city is discussing the matter of the wells with the Water Authority to coordinate all the issues at hand, and it will therefore be involved in the approved strategic plan,” the Hod Hasharon municipality said.