Turn pollution into paradise: Tel Aviv aims to make Yarkon swimmable again



The Yarkon River Management Authority has approved the “Clean Yarkon” plan. The plan includes new measures to prevent river pollution, increasing efforts to reroute treated sewage from the river and into clean water instead.

Plans for the 28km river were approved last week.

“This is a historic opportunity to restore the river to its former glory and completely clean the Yacon River. Stop discharging pollutants into the Yacon River, return treated wastewater to its location, and clean up the Yacon River.” “We want to protect our residents from this,” said Mayor Ron Huldai. He is the chairman of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality and the chairman of the authority.

“This will continue to transform the Yarkon River into a place of cleanliness, quality of life, community, and environment, and, eventually, swimming along its entire length.”

Huldai said the city has been working on restoring Yarkon for more than 20 years. Some areas already have good water quality and are developing tourism and recreation. There are also cycle paths, sports facilities and leasing facilities. However, two-thirds of the river is still not swimmable and needs cleaning.

Yacon Park, December 31, 2023. (Credit: Yakon River Management Authority)

The Yarkon River Authority has developed the Clean Yarkon Plan to prevent potential pollution from various sources such as sewage treatment plants, agricultural runoff, drains, and industrial areas.

Initiatives to clean water

The plan aims to isolate the Yarkon River from potential pollution threats and contribute to reducing stagnation and flooded areas along the river.


In addition, the Yarkon River Authority will work with the Water Board, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Nature Parks Authority to divert treated wastewater from the Yarkon River and channel clean water in its place.

As part of this process, the flow of clean water from local wells is expected to increase from 14-15 million cubic meters to 22 million cubic meters per year.

Water from the Yacon River will be extracted before it reaches the lower reaches of the Yacon River and will be conserved for reuse in urban horticulture and agriculture in the Yacon River headwaters and hydrologically sensitive areas.

“Through this plan, the Yarkon River will become a clean, flowing and accessible river. The seven surrounding municipalities will benefit from unique natural resources forming a ‘green lung’ and the densely populated Tel Aviv metropolitan area. will benefit from the most important ecological corridor along the “Yarkon River Management Authority”.

Additionally, cleaning rivers has significant ecological consequences. Extensive efforts to date have brought some fish and plants back to the river. By cleaning the yacon and preventing contamination over time, the ecosystem will continue to develop and its natural habitat will be restored.

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