Cleaning the river has significant ecological implications, including fish and plants returning to the river, as well as other natural habitats in the future. 


The Yarkon River Authority has approved the “Clean Yarkon” plan, which includes new measures to prevent pollution in the river and reinforces the commitment to reroute treated sewage away from the river and direct it into clean water instead.

The plan for the 28-kilometer river was approved last week.

“This is a historic opportunity to restore the river to its former glory and make the Yarkon completely clean: stopping the discharge of pollutants into the Yarkon, redirecting treated wastewater in its place, and protecting the Yarkon from contamination,” said Ron Huldai, mayor of Tel Aviv-Jaffa and chairman of the authority. “This will continue the transformation of the Yarkon into a clean place, a place of quality of life, community, and environment, and shortly, even a place to swim along its entire length.”

Huldai said that the city has been working on rehabilitating the Yarkon for more than two decades. In some areas, the water quality is already good, and tourism and recreation have been developed. In addition, bike paths and sports and lease facilities have been installed. However, two-thirds of the river is still un-swimmable and requires cleaning.

The Yarkon River Authority developed the Clean Yarkon plan to prevent potential pollution from various sources, such as wastewater treatment plants, agricultural runoff, drainage outlets, industrial zones, and more. The plan aims to isolate the Yarkon from potential contamination threats and contribute to reducing stagnation and flooding areas along the river.

 The Yarkon Park, December 31, 2023. (credit: Yarkon River Authority)
The Yarkon Park, December 31, 2023. (credit: Yarkon River Authority)

In addition, the Yarkon River Authority will work in coordination with the Water Authority, the Environmental Protection Ministry, and the Nature and Parks Authority to divert treated wastewater from the Yarkon River and redirect 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.

Efforts to clean the water

The waters of the Yarkon will be preserved, as they will be extracted before reaching the lower Yarkon and channeled for reuse in urban gardening and agriculture in the Yarkon sources and hydrologically sensitive areas.

“Through this plan, the Yarkon will become a clean, flowing, accessible river. The seven surrounding local authorities will benefit from the unique natural resource that forms a ‘green lung’ and the most significant ecological corridor along the densely populated Tel Aviv metropolitan area,” the Yarkon River Authority said.

Moreover, cleaning the river has significant ecological implications. Extensive previous efforts have led to some fish and plants returning to the river. With the cleaning of the Yarkon and prevention of contamination over time, the ecological system will continue to develop, and natural habitats will be restored.