By the 1960s, the intermittent streams in Israel, emptying either into the Mediterranean or into the Dead Sea in the east, became perennial sewage conduits, with the local aquatic habitat decimated or changed beyond recognition. The natural flow of water that had once offered a seasonal pulse to these ephemeral wadis was typically tapped for agricultural utilization of drinking water. During the past two decades, there appeared initial signs that this ecological misfortune was reversible. In 2003, Israel's water law was finally amended, adding 'nature' to the list of legitimate recipients of fresh water allocations (along with agriculture, industry and household uses). New standards were set for waste-water treatment. Recent advances in the construction of Israel's desalination infrastructure have added substantial quantities of fresh water to Israel's national grid and raise the prospects of a new deal for Israel's streams. Improved regulation by Israel's agencies and upgraded levels of sewage treatment also promised to improve conditions in the contaminated waterways. This article offers an historic retrospective of the progress of Israel's streams made thus far and future restoration challenges.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Water Science and Technology