Hadera River Park - Environmentalism in Central Israel

Hadera River.Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

The Hadera River (Nahal Hadera) rises in the hills of Samaria, traverses the coastal plain and runs into the sea to the north of Givat Olga.

The Hadera River (Nahal Hadera) rises in the hills of Samaria, traverses the coastal plain and runs into the sea to the north of Givat Olga. Because of accelerated development in the surrounding area, the river has become polluted and its lower reaches formerly presented a serious ecological problem. However, after a power station was built on the coast just north of where the river flows into the sea, a decision was taken to rehabilitate its western section between the Coastal Highway and the river mouth.

As a result, this polluted waterway has been transformed from a polluted meandering trickle into a fine straight river forty meters wide. Around this section of the water, KKL-JNF has established a magnificent park, and the organization is now engaged in rehabilitation work on the river’s upper reaches.

  • How to get there

    • To Hadera Forest: Turn off the Coastal Highway (Route no. 2) at the Olga Interchange and head for Hadera. Turn off the road at the Hadera Interchange and follow the signs to Hadera Railway Station, which is adjacent to the forest. Note: The forest is also accessible by Israel Railways.
    • To Hadera River Park: Take the Coastal Highway (Route no. 2) to the Givat Olga Interchange, where you turn west and head towards the sea. Then turn right at the first opportunity and continue for 2 kilometers on an asphalt road until you reach the riverbank adjacent to the Orot Rabin Power Station.
  • Geographic location-

    Jerusalem - Judean highlands and surroundings
  • Area-

  • Special Sites in the Area-

    A prehistoric site, the Samar Pool, Tel Iberkatz, the Forest Pool.
  • Facilities-

    Picinic area, Lookout, Marked path, Archeological or Historic site.
  • Other sites in the area-

    Sharon Park, Mount Horshan Nature Reserve, Nahal Taninim (“Crocodile River”) Nature Reserve, Ramat HaNadiv (“Benefactor’s Heights”), Jabotinsky Park at Shuni, Caesarea National Park, Alona Park, Ilanot Forest.
  • Type of parking-

    Picnic parks

Projects and Partners Worldwide

Hadera Park was restored and developed thanks to contributions
from Friends of KKL-JNF worldwide, including Sweden and France.

Hadera River power station. Photo: KKL-JNF Archive.

About the Park

The river flows for some fifty kilometers through the Coastal Plain before spilling into the sea to the north of Givat Olga. Its main tributaries are the Haviva, Yitzhak, Haderaand Iron rivers. With time, extensive development in the surrounding area has caused the river to become polluted by effluent flowing from factories and the local sewage plants, and until recent years, its lower reaches between Hadera and the sea were a blot on the ecological landscape; the turbid waters stank of sewage and effluent from communities and factories further upriver.

In 1982, the Maor David Power Station (subsequently renamed Orot Yitzhak in memory of Israel’s late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin) was built on the shore to the north of the mouth of the Hadera River, and since coming into operation, it has used the seawater to cool its electricity production units. After use, the water is returned to the sea, about ten degrees warmer than it had been originally, but otherwise no different from before; no pollution is involved.

Restoring the River

After the power station was built, a decision was taken to rehabilitate the western section of Nahal Hadera that lies between the Coastal Highway and the point where the river water spills into the sea. KKL-JNF and the Israel Electric Corporation joined forces and established a development authority for the park, under the auspices of KKL-JNF, which is working in conjunction with the Electric Corporation, Hadera Municipality, the Ministry for Environmental Protection and the Society for the Protection of Nature and National Parks.

Photo: KKL-JNF Archive.
The coolant water that the power station pumps from the sea plays a role in the river restoration process, as, when it is returned after use, it fills the river with clean water that creates a pollution-free environment for residents of central Israel and enables the area to be used as a venue for recreational activities. The thin stream of pollution that once meandered along the gully has now been transformed into a straight clean river forty meters wide. Around this section of the river, KKL-JNF has developed a park, complete with paths, sitting corners, lawns and fountains, wwhich covers an area of 750 dunam (approx 187.5 acres).

This rehabilitation work was an impressive feat of engineering that involved installing a pipe two meters in diameter to channel the warm water beneath the power station on its way to the river. The power station pumps this water from the sea and expels it after use at a rate of 160,000 cubic meters per hour. It tumbles into the river down four waterfalls each 2.5 meters in height. Beside the waterfalls are pools 80 centimeters deep, equipped with special seats. As the water is clean and has a temperature of 24 degrees Celsius in winter and 37 degrees Celsius in summer, its presence in the river makes the park an attractive recreational venue all year round.

To facilitate the widening of the river and the removal of silt and pollutants, a dam was constructed beside the Coastal Highway Bridge and a pumping station was built to the east of it to remove the polluted water arriving from further upstream and prevent its entering the park.

Coal ash from the power station was used to construct a seventeen-meter-high ramp on the river’s north bank. After construction the ramp was covered with soil and coconut matting and planted with trees and shrubs to keep it stable, prevent erosion and integrate it into the landscape of the park.

After stabilization with stones and concrete, the south bank of the river has been transformed into a promenade. Its centerpiece is Fountain Square, where warm seawater bubbles up into a shallow pool equipped with concrete seats for visitors. All along the riverbank fisherman can be observed casting their lines into the water and catching saltwater fish (mainly mullet).

Photo: KKL-JNF Archive.

Nahal Hadera Park

The park includes two eucalyptus groves that were planted in the 1930s to prevent the sand dunes from spreading. One is situated on the south bank of the river, just beside the water, not far from the Coastal Highway, and it is easily and enjoyably accessible on foot.

The park is an excellent place to observe water birds such as the common kingfisher, the grey heron, moorhens, mallards and cormorants. The second eucalyptus grove is further south of the river and can be reached on foot or by car. In this woodland KKL-JNF has created a recreation area with picnic tables, some of which are wheelchair-accessible, and the playground facilities for children include a special sand-dune slide. In winter the woodland is carpeted with cyclamen flowers. k

The archeological remains found along the riverbanks reveal that the coastline has changed. At the top of the hill between the two areas of woodland, a prehistoric site from the Kebaran period (18,000 years ago) has been discovered. Flint tools were uncovered at the site, together with the bones of animals presumed to be gazelles and fallow deer. The site also offers an excellent overview of the park.

Hefziba Farm, which is situated near the park on the south bank of the Hadera River to the east of the Coastal Highway, is a remarkable spot with a romantic atmosphere whose original buildings from 1906 are still standing. Citrus fruit was grown here until the First World War. The old pump house on the riverbank has been restored, and pumps of the kind used in the distant past are now on display there. The site serves as an instruction center and a departure point for excursions.