Wednesday, February 10, 2010 10:14 AM
An Environmental Nuisance Becomes an Attraction
This is a unique project that will combine the utilization of water from the Dimona constructed wetlands project for research on an agro-forestry project (small scale commercial forestry plantations) in the northern Negev. A constructed wetland is an ecological wastewater treatment facility that uses a series of pools, in which a variety of aquatic plants grow to simulate a natural wetland environment, to purify water. As the water flows from one pool to the other it undergoes biological purification, and the resulting water can be used to irrigate commercial short rotation forest. The project combines ecology (recycling wastewater) with research to eventually yield an economically feasible forestry venture.
Photo: KKL Photos Archive
Dimona is a Negev development town located southeast of Be’er Sheva along one of the routes leading to Eilat. In keeping with the Zionist vision for the region, KKL-JNF views development of the Negev, with its land reserves, limited water resources, and tourism potential, as vital to the State of Israel. KKL-JNF is fully aware that developing the desert must be a careful, well-planned process: only sustainable development schemes will preserve the Negev for future generations without destroying it. Use of recycled water overcomes the major limiting factor in desert ecosystems – water. Obtaining purified water from constructed wetlands, the state-of-the-art environmental method for treating effluents, and using it to develop a wood production industry that can improve the economic situation of a peripheral community creates a situation that is truly sustainable. Based as it will be on comprehensive research to determine the best species to be planted and eventually used for wood the project has excellent possibilities of success.
The Negev offers important reserves for new settlement and an alternative to crowded central Israel. But the desert is a fragile ecosystem that must be treated cautiously. KKL-JNF is an expert at minimum impact development and encouraging and participating in the creation of constructed wetlands is an expression of this policy.
Generous contributions by friends of JNF USA have helped complete this unique project, one of the first of its kind in Israel, which will become a living example of environmentally sensible development. This multi-functional project, which will be part of a study to develop small scale commercial forestry and eventually a wood production plant will boost the economy and support the residents of a peripheral Israeli community.
Photo: KKL Photos Archive