Netivot Plans to Turn Dump Site Into Artificial Lake and Park

A large part of the funding for the project will come from fees paid by developers of new residential neighborhoods.

A neighborhood in Netivot, southern Israel.
Ilan Assayag

The southern city of Netivot recently launched a project to clear a large waste site of building materials, which in turn will be recycled to become the foundations of a new bridge in the area. The dump will eventually become an artificial lake, part of a planned park for area residents.

Construction waste from the site is already being ground up by portable machines on the site. The resulting material is transported to a nearby area, where it will serve as the foundation of a bridge between existing neighborhoods and new residential areas. The bridge will also afford easy access to the town’s new railroad station.

The landfill, once emptied of its waste, is to be turned into a 64-dunam (16-acre) park with a man-made lake, playground equipment, picnic areas and observation points. A similar project, Yeruham Lake Park, has been built in the town of Yeruham.

“The lake will be filled with purified waste water from the city’s water purification plant,” explains Netivot’s chief engineer, Yuli Haimovich. Judging by the experience of Yeruham, maintaining the lake, which will be the city’s responsibility, could prove to be a challenge. “We plan to put in plants that will help in purifying the waste water,” Haimovich notes.

Until recently, there were few public parks or recreation areas in Netivot. The plans to add new developments that would double the town’s population within two decades gave the city added impetus to carve out new recreation areas. “We decided to build a few bridges over Bohu Stream, which traverses the city, in order to better connect the new neighborhoods to the city center,” Haimovich explains. “We combined two tenders, one for clearing out the landfill and another for creating the berm for one of the bridges, thus saving about half of the cost of the project.”

The city government also intends to take advantage of the town’s most important natural resource, Bohu Stream, part of which will be adjacent to the proposed artificial lake. In the spring the area of the stream blooms with flowers and other plant life, but access is limited and there are no paths nearby.

The first stage of a plan to fix these problems has begun, with the building of what will eventually be a 13-kilometer-long boardwalk that will include bicycle and walking lanes. Together with the Jewish National Fund, the city plans to turn the stream into a 900-dunam park. The estimated cost of the entire project, including the park with the artificial lake, is 240 million shekels ($64 million).

A large part of the money will come from fees the city plans to collect from the developers of the new neighborhoods.