Nutrient pollution at the lower reaches of Mediterranean coastal rivers in Israel

B. Herut, N. Kress, H. Hornung

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


This study represents the first attempt to evaluate the nutrient load introduced into the coastal waters by the rivers along the Mediterranean coast of Israel. Measurements of nutrient concentrations (phosphate, ammonium, nitrate, nitrite, silicic acid) at two or three stations along the lower river reaches (11 rivers) were carried out annually from 1990 up to 1998. Combining the nutrient concentrations with the monthly riverine discharges we assessed the nutrient load. In general, most of the coastal rivers contain high nutrient contamination level, compared to the criteria adopted by NOAA (USA) for coastal river estuaries. The high degree of contamination is attributed to extreme low natural flow combined with the discharge of domestic and industrial wastes, and with agriculture runoff. In terms of nutrient concentrations, the Kishon River is the most polluted, followed by the Soreq, Poleg and Alexander Rivers. The preliminary estimate is that the coastal rivers transport between ~2000 to 6000 tons of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) and between ~250-800 tons of dissolved inorganic phosphorus (DIP) to the sea. An additional 3500 and 3000 tons of DIN and DIP, respectively, are supplied through the Kishon River. The load of the Poleg River is unknown (no discharge data) but expected to be significant based on nutrient concentration measured. The total load of the coastal rivers constitutes a major component among the other land-base point sources such as the Gush Dan outfall. Our estimate probably represents minimal values, as it does not include diffused input of agricultural runoff nor the riverine particulate and dissolved organic nutrient loads (which are unknown).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-152
Number of pages6
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes
EventProceedings of the 7th International Conference of the Israel Society for Ecology and Environmental Quality Sciences - Jerusalem, Isr
Duration: 13 Jun 199918 Jun 1999


  • Israel
  • Mediterranean
  • Nutrients
  • Pollution
  • Rivers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


Dive into the research topics of 'Nutrient pollution at the lower reaches of Mediterranean coastal rivers in Israel'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this